‘No other mother should ever go through this’

Jean Quigley.
Jean Quigley.

The mother of murdered Derry woman Jean Quigley said she hoped a key law granting access to the criminal past of violent partners is extended to Northern Ireland.

Jean Quigley’s mother Emma McBride said that if Clare’s Law had been in place when her daughter began seeing the man who later killed her, Jean would have never have become involved with him.

Mrs McBride was speaking ahead of calls at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions conference in Derry on Wednesday for the 2014 law to be extended from England and Wales to Northern Ireland.

Under the Clare’s Law, victims of domestic abuse, their friends and relatives can request information about a partner they suspect has a history of violence. It was named after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her violent partner.

Stephen Cahoon was found guilty of murdering pregnant mother-of-four Jean, for the second time following three trials, in December 2015. Jean (30) died as a result of injuries inflicted by Cahoon at her home in Cornshell Fields in July 2008.

Speaking about Clare’s Law, Jean’s mother said: “This would have made a difference. We didn’t know beforehand but after Jean’s death I found out all about him. He got another trial before Christmas and another life sentence but with seven years off.

“With his background- 30 convictions alone for up here - if he gets out somebody else is going to be in my position.

“I found Jean in a bad way and I don’t want any mother to ever go through what I have to do. If I had known; if our Jean had known, she would never have entertained him.

“At the end she tried to get away from him. She didn’t know he was coming that night until he arrived. She had four children, her whole life in front of her.”

Speaking about her daughter, Mrs McBride, added: “I miss Jean every day of the week. You get up in the morning and she’s my first thought and my last going to bed at night. Jean was the youngest of my family. She was a lovely wee girl, full of craic. We are all sort of at a loss without her.

“You don’t bring wains into the world for someone else to take them out of it.”