A man who murdered his wife with a samurai sword at their home in north Dublin in June 2020 has been sentenced to the mandatory term of life imprisonment.
William Eagers appeared in court on Friday for his sentence hearing, having pleaded guilty earlier this month to the murder of Jean Eagers in their home at Willow Wood Grove in Clonsilla, north Dublin on June 21st, 2020.
Mother of two Ms Eagers (57) died of her wounds at the house in Willow Wood Grove estate on the morning of June 21st. A previous hearing of the case heard that a family member raised the alarm on the day and that the Garda Armed Support Unit forced entry to the house following a stand-off where Jean Eagers was discovered with serious injuries.
Eagers, a former export operations manager and part-time taxi driver, had been charged with murder and the production of a samurai sword while committing the offence in the course of a dispute.
The Central Criminal Court was told on Friday that he murdered his wife of 34 years “on an ordinary Sunday morning” by thrusting a samurai sword into her 16 times before turning to their son and telling him “you’re next”.
Dillon Eagers told the court that he had tried in vain to save his mother Jean as she was horrifically murdered by his father William in their home, and now suffers constant night terrors and has undergone hours of therapy as a result.
William Eagers told gardaí that he couldn’t recollect what had happened during the attack on Father’s Day 2020 and claimed that he “lost his memory and blacked out”.
Sentencing judge Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring noted the “horrific circumstances” of the killing and said no child should be put in the position where they see their father murder their mother “in circumstances that can only be described as terrible”.
The judge refused to backdate Eagers’ sentence to when he went into custody three years ago, stating that this matter had been resolved at a “very very late stage in the proceedings”. She added: “I note the family’s victim impact statements and the distress that the past three years has caused to them. The court is aware this is an aggravating element for victims and families in cases such as this”.
Defence counsel Sean Guerin SC, for Eagers, said his client wanted to apologise to his family for “the horrific acts” he committed that day and convey his deep sense of shame and remorse. “He loves his wife and doesn’t know why he did what he did,” he added.
The deceased’s daughter Michele Connolly cried in the witness box as she told the court that her mum was her best friend and they shared a relationship that most people could only wish for.
She said she learned about an accident in her parent’s house and “arrived to chaos and so much fear”.
She added: “I could never have expected it to be dad, a dad is meant to protect you from pain. I couldn’t believe it was real. It is hard to put into words how much it has changed my life and destroyed it. I am heartbroken, sad, worry more and suffer from anxiety”.
She continued: “I’m broken and shattered and my heart hurts with the loss of my mam. At night I go to sleep and I don’t want to wake up the next morning. Living this life without her is too painful, my heart aches with the pain”.
Addressing her father in the statement, Ms Connolly said: “I don’t think you will ever comprehend how much you have destroyed me. I worry how my little brother processes that day. You have robbed so much from happy newlyweds and the excitement of a new baby. You have robbed us of our support system. Trying to navigate loss and grief when becoming a mother is so difficult”.
Dillon Eagers said in his statement that he witnessed his mother being brutally murdered nearly three years ago by a person that was supposed to protect her; “my dad”. “When I was trying to get into the room to save my mum, he looked at me and said ‘you’re next’”.
Dillon said he has constant night terrors, undergoes hours of therapy and the incident had ruined relationships with his family and friends. He said he has lost the only home he has ever known.
“One of the hardest things is to see my sister become a mother without her mother by her side,” he said. He called his mother an amazing person and said she was someone who always gave to others and wanted nothing in return. “I love you mam, I miss you so much,” he said.