Family’s lives shattered forever by evil murder of John Gogarty

John Gogarty
John Gogarty
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The eldest daughter of murder victim John Gogarty has described the appalling impact of his brutal murder on his family.

Speaking at Sheffield Crown Court ahead of the sentencing of Ian Birley and Helen Nichols for his murder, she read a prepared statement to the judge.

DC David Sayles gives a statement after the sentencing of Ian Birley and Helen Nichols for the murder of John Gogarty, flanked by members of Mr Gogarty's family. Picture: Andrew Roe

DC David Sayles gives a statement after the sentencing of Ian Birley and Helen Nichols for the murder of John Gogarty, flanked by members of Mr Gogarty's family. Picture: Andrew Roe

Miss Gogarty said: “I am here to represent my father John Edward Gogarty who cannot represent himself and to give his voice, his own having been taken away from him so cruelly.

“I do this to honour him. I want the court to hear what a wonderful, kind, funny and generous man my father was.

“Our family have always been good, decent, normal people.

“We are from a small fishing village in Ireland, right beside the sea.

“We never imagined that violence of such an extreme nature would ever come knocking on our door, but on July 17, 2015, our lives were shattered forever.

“I do not believe that either Ian Birley or Helen Nichols will ever know the magnitude of the loss they inflicted on my family when on the night of July 13, 2015, Ian Birley savagely attacked and murdered by father, wholly encouraged and assisted by Helen Nichols, who stood by and watched it happen, never doing a single thing to help save his life.

“I will never forgive them for this.

“In describing what follows, words alone seem trivial, incapable of truly describing our feelings when my father was murdered and stripped from our lives - horror, agony, despair, chaos and confusion.

“My father was a good, decent human being who would never hurt anybody.

“My father was my hero and protector. I adored my father.

“I am heartbroken forever more to know, having heard in such detail, the violent death my father suffered at the hands of Ian Birley.

“Added to that pain is the knowledge that Ian Birley has already been convicted of the murder of an old man in his own home, and should never have been back on the streets free to do so again and free to destroy many more lives for a second time.

“My heart breaks that my precious father died without his children, his sister, my mother around him to hold his hand to kiss him goodbye.

“I will wonder until the day I die what was going through my father’s mind while you savagely attacked him. You are a coward Ian Birley.

“Neither my brother and sister and I, nor my mum and my auntie saw my father’s body after he died. We were all advised that to do so would cause us even more distress,

“I never got to say goodbye to my precious father, I never got to hug, kiss and tell my father one last time how much I love him.

“For this I will never forgive you.

“I will never forgive you taking away their precious grandfather from my three children, their only living grandfather.

“My 15-year-old daughter has lost ‘G-Dog as she affectionately called him.

“I desperately wanted to protect from the awful details of what had happened to her grandad, but like everyone her age she lives in a world surrounded by social media. I therefore had to suffer the pain of being the one to bring her world crashing down, before she saw it for herself on Facebook.

“My four-year-old and two-year-old ask me most days when is Grandad John coming down from the stars because they miss him and want to go see him.

“Our lives will never be the same again.

“I have never known in my life such evilness and worst of all you have sat there and denied it all.

“Again, Ian Birley you are a coward.

“You have put myself and my family through this trial, which has been a horrifying experience.

“But one day we will smile again because I know that my father would not want for you, Ian Birley and Helen Nichols, to have out hearts.

“He would want us to live life to the full and we will, in time.”