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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway woman’s killer sentenced to minimum of 40 years’ jail

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A convicted sex offender who murdered a Galway woman at her home in north London, has been sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 40 years.

32-year-old Kasim Lewis was due to go on trial last week, having previously denied any involvement in the killing of Cathy Burke at her home in at Hill Road, Muswell Hill London.

BY SAM CORBISHLEY

However, last Monday afternoon, he pleaded guilty to her murder.

Last year, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for a separate murder on Christmas Eve, 2017 – just weeks after he murdered Ms Burke.

After his conviction, his DNA was linked to the death of Ms Burke, who was found stripped, tied up and stabbed in her house November 16, 2017.

Murderer Kasim Lewis was sentenced to a second life sentence.

The 55-year-old, a retired civil servant who was originally from Glenard in Salthill, had been living in the London property for around 20 years.

Neighbours raised the alarm after she had not been seen for a number of days, and police entered the property. She had been stabbed in the abdomen, between her shoulder blades and in her neck. There were no defensive injuries, the Old Bailey heard.

Crispin Aylett QC, prosecuting, said: “The prosecution submission is that Cathy Burke must have simply been too terrified to resist.”

Lewis was linked to the scene by DNA evidence, and experts also tracked Ms Burke’s mobile phones – which had been stolen – in the direction of where Lewis was living.

He is already serving a minimum of 29 years in jail for the brutal murder of barmaid Iuliana Tudos just five weeks after Ms Burke’s murder.

The judge described the barmaid’s murder as “barbaric”, “wicked beyond belief” and said Lewis showed “appalling brutality”.

Ms Burke’s son, Niall Galbally, stared at Lewis through the dock glass as he stepped into the witness box to read a moving victim impact statement.

“November 16, 2017 was the day my life was completely uprooted. My world came crashing down before me. In the midst of my second year at university I received a phone call from a then-neighbour who said the police and ambulance services had been outside our home for some time.

“I will never forget the chilling words that followed – Niall, I don’t know how to tell you this, but they believe your mum has been found dead. Being 70-odd miles away in Brighton, feelings of utter despair and misery have consumed me. Feelings that would only increase in unquantifiable amounts that morning when the police informed me and my family that my mum’s death was now being treated as a murder investigation.

“Growing up in London I had unfortunately become accustomed to hearing about murders on a far too regular basis. Never ever did I expect that murder would land at my front door. Nothing prepares you for that.

“There are simply no amount of words that can describe the sheer devastation that has been caused to me and my family. My life hasn’t been the same since, nor will it be the same again. A wicked and senseless attack that has caused an untold amount of pain.

“A massive hole resides in my heart for the loss of my mother and no amount of justice will mend that. But I take great comfort from the fact that the man responsible for such brutality has been caught.

“This is the close of a horrible chapter in my life, but the opening where I can leave this nightmare behind me,” he said.

He locked eyes on Lewis again as he slowly walked back to his seat in the well of the court.

Mr Aylett told the court: ‘‘It is a statement of the obvious, but whoever was responsible for the murder of Cathy Burke could only have been brutal and perverted.

“More particularly, the prosecution suggests his motive could only have been sexual because he would not, would he, have had to strip Ms Burke naked simply to steal her mobiles.

“On the other hand, this sexually inspired murder took place without any apparent form of sexual assault. The prosecution submit that these circumstances suggest that there must have been a very real risk of the killer striking again, and so it turned out.”

Lewis was sentenced by Judge Richard Marks at the Central Criminal Court – the Old Bailey – on Thursday to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 40 years, to run concurrently to his existing sentence.

CITY TRIBUNE

Saving on school books

Dara Bradley

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Secondary school students struggling with back-to-school costs, or looking for a bargain, can shave as much as 40% off the cost of school books – if they buy second hand.

And The Book Exchange on Lower Abbeygate Street in Galway City will even buy back good-quality school books, which it then re-sells.

“You typically can get 40% off the retail value of books if you shop with us. We generally say that if you spend €100 on new books, they’d be €60 here,” said Gary Healy of The Book Exchange.

It doesn’t stock a full-range of books, like Eason’s or other new school book retailers, but it caters well for Senior cycle students in secondary school in particular.

“Most of the fifth year and sixth year books are here, whether it’s maths such as Active Maths 4, Active Maths 3 or Irish books like Fuinneamh Nua. We have a lot of language books and a lot of the optional subjects. In general, almost all the firth and sixth year secondary school curriculum can be got second hand. With the Junior Cert, it’s only a couple of subjects that are available and it depends on the school. English books at Junior Cert can be gotten second-hand, and then sometimes the optional subjects like woodwork, tech graphics, music,” he said.

The Book Exchange will go through the booklist with the students or parents, although customers are advised to get in touch in advance.

“I’d advise anybody to stick a nose in to us with a list, or even give us a ring, or an email. We’re always happy to go down through the list with people, and walk them through it because one of the biggest things that can be a problem with the school book list, is when it specifies a book for a parent to get, it could say ‘new edition’ but in many cases ‘new edition’ just means it’s called the new edition, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s new. It could be 10 years after and it would still be called the ‘new edition’.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Changes to garda structure require ‘feet on the ground’

Francis Farragher

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STRUCTURAL changes in Garda management – which will see the current Western Region merged with the Northern area – need to be backed up with ‘feet on the ground’, according to the Chairperson of the city’s Joint Policing Committee.

Cllr Niall McNelis said he also had concerns over the impact that a reduction in Garda Superintendents and Chief Superintendents could have on the management of the force across the Galway region.

“I know that the stated intention of the Commissioner [Drew Harris] is to increase the frontline presence of Gardaí but this cannot be achieved without more feet on the ground.

“There also has to be concerns over an apparent lack of consultation on the changes with Garda Superintendents who really play a key role in managing the Garda resources at local level,” said Cllr McNelis.

He added that in the aftermath of the financial crash in Ireland, Garda resources – both in terms of personnel and equipment – had taken a huge hit, with this ‘lost ground’ still not being made up.

“The bottom line in all of this is: will we see more Gardaí on the beat; more Gardaí operating at local level and in touch with local people; and also a management structure that’s in touch with local communities?” Cllr McNelis asked.

One of the major changes announced by Commissioner Drew Harris is a reduction in the number of national Garda regions across the country from six to four, each one under the control of an Assistant Commissioner.  The Western Garda Region – that had consisted of Galway, Clare, Roscommon/Longford and Mayo – will now be merged into one region amalgamating with the North.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Traffic gridlock – specialist traffic control operator at City Hall among proposed solutions

Francis Farragher

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THE city came close to complete gridlock on last Tuesday with a combination of minor accidents, roadworks, visitor numbers, an influx of shoppers and bad weather, making it a nightmare afternoon and evening for motorists.

Eyre Square, College Road, Lough Atalia, the Moneenagheisha junction and the dual-carriageway leading up to the Briarhill traffic-lights, endured the most severe clog-ups, but commuters across the city reported long delays from lunchtime through to the later evening period.

Former Mayor of Galway and taxi-operator, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that by early afternoon he had to abandon his efforts to continue working.

“I know that there was a huge volume of traffic in the city due to back-to-school shoppers and there were also reports of a number of minor accidents, but I still think that we can do better in terms of managing the flow of vehicles.

“The roadworks in Bohermore were no help and there were reports of a number of minor accidents but we also have real problems with parking and signage issues in the city.

“And most of all, we need a hands-on specialist traffic control operator – experienced and skilled in traffic management – in the control room at City Hall, to monitor flows at all our key junctions,” said Cllr Fahy.

Public transport also got completely bogged down in the Tuesday evening snarl-up with bus commuters from the city to Oranmore reporting a journey time of close on one hour and 20 minutes.

Buses took up to 20 minutes to make it from their stops in Eyre Square to even get onto College Road which had almost ground to a complete standstill at around 5.30pm.

Another motorist told the Galway City Tribune that his journey time from Forster Street to the Briarhill junction was one hour and 50 minutes on Tuesday evening – 4.10pm to 6pm.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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