Friday, May 24, 2024

‘That was the day the world stopped turning’: Andy Cash given three life terms for murder of his siblings

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Andy Cash, who pleaded guilty to murdering his two sisters and brother at their home in Tallaght nearly two years ago, has been given three separate life sentences at the Central Criminal Court on Tuesday morning.

Cash (26) pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court this morning to the murders of 18-year-old Lisa Cash and her eight-year-old twin brother and sister, Christy and Chelsea Cawley, at their family home in Rossfield Avenue, Tallaght, Dublin 24, in the early hours of September 4th, 2022.

Cash appeared in court for the arraignment and spoke only to answer “guilty” when each of the three charges were read to him by the registrar.

Brendan Grehan SC, for Cash, told the court that since going into custody in September 2022, his client has been assessed by two psychiatrists and a psychologist. He said Cash asked him to say that he is “sorry for his actions and sorry to the people he has hurt”.

In their victim impact statement read to the court, family members including Margaret McDonagh, mother of the three victims, spoke of the effect the murders had had on them.

“Our three innocent children were viciously taken from us and that was the day the world stopped turning. What is left is our broken family and every day since has been unbearable”, they said.

“It’s been two birthdays, two Christmases and two of every occasion that we have spent without them. We miss everything about them, hearing their voices, their laughs, the conversations we would have, the games we would play as a family, the hugs and kisses that we won’t ever get from them again.”

They said there are not enough words to describe the pain and hurt that is in the hearts of their family and the pain that they have to live “with every second of every day since”.

“The only thing that hurts more than losing them is knowing how much they have missed out on, how they never got to finish school with their friends or learn how to drive a car or get the chance to see the world. It’s not just what was taken from us that hurts, it’s how their whole lives were taken from them, before they even had a chance to live them.”

The family said “there is no amount of time a person can spend in a jail cell that will justify what has happened to our family. It was not just three lives that were taken from us that day but six lives. We are no longer the people we were when they were alive as we died with them that day. We do not know how to live in this world without them. It’s a struggle we live with every day.

“Lisa, Christy and Chelsea deserved so much more from life, they deserved to grow old and live their lives however they would have chosen to and to have families of their own. They were the most beautiful, kind, and loving children in the world. We will cherish every memory made with them and love and miss them forever,” the statement concluded.

The emotional and powerful victim impact statement was heard before Cash was sentenced to three mandatory terms of life imprisonment for murdering his three siblings. The sentences were backdated to September 4th, 2022 when he went into custody.

Detective Garda Robert Whitty had earlier told prosecution counsel Sean Gillane SC that when gardaí arrived at the scene, it was one of carnage. All three victims had suffered “catastrophic” injuries having been stabbed multiple times. A post mortem revealed 71 slash and stab injuries to Lisa’s face, neck, chest and limbs.

There were also signs that she had tried to defend herself from the attack. Christy suffered 107 sharp force injuries before being thrown out a first floor window of the house while his sister Chelsea was stabbed and slashed 65 times.

He said that in the lead-up to the stabbings, there was a family event to mark the one-year anniversary of the passing of a relative.

Alcohol was consumed, he said, and other family members became uncomfortable with some of the things Andy Cash was saying. From there Cash took a taxi to Rossfield Avenue and went inside the family home while the taxi driver waited.

The twins, Chelsea and Christy were asleep in bed while Lisa was watching Netflix in another room. The taxi driver heard screaming but was unsure where it was coming from. The defendant then emerged from the house and told the driver to call 999.

When the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) arrived they saw Cash upstairs acting erratically and aggressively. He threw a television from the top floor and as members approached the house he dangled a child from the window. The child, who already appeared lifeless, was dropped to the ground, Det Gda Whitty said.

Cash then repelled efforts by gardaí to enter the house before the ERU members forced entry and used non-lethal weapons to subdue Cash, who was still acting violently.

They found Lisa Cash badly injured at the bottom of the stairs but were unable to save her life.

Mr Brendan Grehan SC, defending Cash, told Mr Justice Paul McDermott that his client, also of Rossfield Avenue in Tallaght, had asked him to say that he is sorry for his actions and sorry to all the people that he has hurt.

Before sentencing Cash to the mandatory terms for murder, Mr Justice McDermott noted that the evidence was “deeply traumatising” and said the loss of children on the cusp of their lives was devastating. “Nothing I do or say today can in any way help in that,” he said.

“My function today having heard the evidence of three lives lost in the most appalling circumstances is simply to receive the evidence of lives lost and damage done and to impose the only sentence that can apply in a case of this kind.”

Mr Justice Paul McDermott imposed a life sentence on Cash in respect of each count of murder, the sentences to run concurrently. The judge finished by offering his “heartfelt condolences” to the family.

Members of the children’s family were present in court for the hearing.

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