EVEN after death, tragic Julie Gallagher found herself controlled by her murderous husband.
Not content with stalking his former partner, beating her and finally knifing her to death, callous killer George Gallagher decided on one last twist - cancelling the funeral she would have wanted and, as her legal next of kin, rearranging one of his own.
Then he “bragged” about having Julie buried against her family’s wishes that the body be cremated, her heartbroken sister Deborah Bradshaw said.
Speaking after the guilty verdict, Deborah, aged 48, described the funeral service as “horrendous”, adding: “He really wanted to kick us when we were down.”
She said the family had arranged a cremation with the Co-op, but Gallagher went to the funeral directors the day before and rearranged the service for two weeks later.
The murderer, who had stabbed Julie to death just weeks earlier, had already been arrested on suspicion of the killing, but he had been bailed by the time of the funeral last June.
Deborah said: “We had to sit through a service with him dictating everything. That was awful - the worst day.
“George Gallagher steamed up to the Co-op and said, ‘I’m stopping this’, knowing it was against our wishes.
“He was bragging about it, saying, ‘I’ve shown them all’.”
The family now hope to campaign to change the law, so suspected killers cannot arrange a victim’s funeral even if they are the next of kin. “We’ve taken it forward with our MP and are hoping to take it further and get the law changed,” Deborah said.
Deborah, who discovered Julie dead on the settee, said all her instincts told her from the outset who had committed the dreadful crime. “I knew in my heart it was George Gallagher,” she said.
Paying tribute to her sister, Deborah said she was “kind and fun-loving” and lived life to the full.
“Anybody thinking of Julie would immediately think of her infectious laugh and her ability to make people smile. Our family and the community of Eastwood have lost a very special person.
“We are so relieved we now have justice for Julie and although the guilty verdict will not bring Julie back, she is now able to rest in peace.”
Deborah said the family had hoped to “hear answers” from Gallagher during the trial, but he failed to “admit the pain and hurt he caused Julie”.
“He is an evil, dominating and controlling man who has shown no compassion or remorse since Julie’s death. We finally have closure on this terrible time in our lives and are now able to look forward.”
Det Supt Colin Fisher, from South Yorkshire Police, said: “George Gallagher sought to mislead the investigation and the jury, suggesting someone else must be responsible.
“Scrutiny of small items of forensic evidence, linked to an obvious motivation to kill and an absence of alibi allowed us to gain a clear picture of his crime.”
DS Fisher paid tribute to Deborah’s “tremendous composure” and said Gallagher’s rearranged funeral had had a “devastating effect” on the family.