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.
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.
Gardaí raid cocaine lab in Galway City
Two men have been arrested following a Garda raid in which a cocaine laboratory was discovered in Galway City.
In total, Gardaí seized €178,500 in cash, €50,000 worth of cocaine (subject to analysis) and a number of drug manufacturing components as part of an intelligence-led operation into the sale and supply of drugs in the Galway Garda Division.
At 7.40pm yesterday (Sunday) the Divisional Drugs Unit in Galway stopped and searched a car on the M6 motorway in the vicinity of Loughrea where €17,580 worth of cash was seized.
As part of a follow-up search, Gardaí uncovered what is believed to be a cocaine processing laboratory and seized cocaine (pending analysis) with an estimated value of €50,000 at an address in Galway City.
At this address, Gardaí seized a quantity of mixing agent, a cocaine press, vacuum packer, industrial gas masks, and a cash counting machine, which are believed to have been used in the manufacture of cocaine for sale or supply.
In a further follow-up search, Gardaí seized €161,000 in cash at a separate premises in the city.
One man in his 20s was arrested following the detection on the M6, while a second man in his 30s was arrested at a property in Galway City.
Both men are currently detained at Galway Garda Station under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drugs Trafficking) Act 1996.
These seizures were part of an intelligence led operation and were detected by the Galway Divisional Drugs Unit with the assistance of the Western Regional Armed Support Unit.
“It will be akin to the notorious Rahoon flats”
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – More than 700 local residents have signed a petition against plans for the construction of 330 apartments in Knocknacarra – which have been likened to “the notorious Rahoon flats”.
Child safeguarding concerns have also been raised by the principal of Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh – who pointed out that the apartments will look directly into 19 classrooms.
A total of 27 objections were lodged against Glenveagh Living’s plans to build 332 apartments in six blocks – ranging from four storeys to seven storeys in height.
Locals have demanded An Bord Pleanála hold an oral hearing into the plans – that planning authority is due to make a decision by March 20, although it can decide to hold such a hearing first.
One of the objections – which accuses the developer of designing “tenement style” homes in a “blatant attempt to profiteer from the housing crisis” – was signed by more than 700 local residents.
Another objector said the development was “akin to the notorious Rahoon flats, with people being packed on top of each other”.
Locals have raised concerns about the huge number of apartments planned; overshadowing of homes; inadequate open space, playing pitches and community infrastructure; parking and traffic problems; low quality of design and road safety.
Glenveagh Living did not respond to a request from the Galway City Tribune for comment.
This is a preview only. To read extensive coverage of the Glenveagh plans and objections, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here.
Arts fraternity rallies as Theo faces deportation
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Less than a year after being invited by the Arts Council to perform at a conference about diversity in the arts, a musician, DJ and rapper – who is about to embark on a project for Galway 2020 – is facing deportation.
Theophilus Ndlovu left Zimbabwe after what he claims was a lifetime of abuse at the hands of the people who were supposed to mind him.
His mother left when he was just six years old and he never met his father. He was placed in the care of an unofficial foster family but it was never a happy arrangement.
“These people I stayed with were abusing me. They were never my family. I was running away from persecution and abuse and the way I was treated by these people. I had to fend for myself since I was ten years old,” he recalls.
When Theo was 20, he saved up enough money from mowing lawns and selling chickens to escape, arriving in Ireland where he sought asylum. Authorities placed him in a Direct Provision Centre in Finglas for a fortnight before he was transferred to the Great Western Direct Provision Centre off Eyre Square, where he has remained for nearly four years.
Almost immediately, Theo felt at home.
“This is my family. Galway is where I found my voice. It has become my home. It is just where I’m meant to be.”
Theo has immersed himself in the arts community and has become a leading hip-hop artist, known as Touché, performing regularly at venues such as the Róisín Dubh and the Black Gate. He was instrumental in getting fellow asylum seekers and refugees involved in music collaborations.
He is a founding member of the multicultural music project ‘Atmos Collective’ and has facilitated numerous music workshops in Galway, “teaching, motivating and inspiring hundreds of young people along the way”, according to co-founder Alice McDowell, an Australian filmmaker and fiddler.
The collective was recently granted funding by the Galway European Capital of Culture 2020 committee to host community music workshops in the city and county over the next year as part of their ‘Small Towns Big Ideas’ scheme.
This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here.
The petition is available online HERE