By Allison Bray
Thursday April 05 2007
THE former partner of a man who was murdered outside his home, said she was in a "living hell" as a result of harassment from the killer's friends and family.
Stephen Kelly (22), had to be restrained by gardai after he told the victim's family to "shut the f**k up" when a jury unanimously convicted him of the murder of Ian McConnell (28), at the Central Criminal Court at the end of February.
Now members of the McConnell family - who sobbed and hugged each other when Kelly was sentenced to life in prison - claim they are being harassed at the same tower block on Shangan Road, Ballymun, North Dublin.
Mr McConnell was shot at close range in the back of the head at a party in December 2005.
The victim's former girlfriend and mother of his four young children, Karen Fulton, said she and her children were being taunted on a regular basis by Kelly's associates.
Her car and the car belonging to the victim's father David McConnell had been vandalised several times, along with the victim's grave. Her children, who range in age from seven to 10, are also being subjected to verbal abuse and taunts as they go about their business and she no longer lets them play outside in the area, she claimed.
The murder took place at a landing next door to the young mother's flat. It was sparked by a suspected feud between rival gangs in Ballymun.
The 28-year-old said she applied to be rehoused from the local authority flat immediately after the shooting but is still waiting for a new home despite being put on Dublin Corporation's priority list for re-housing.
Aside from having to re-live the horror of the shooting every time she walks past the flat, Ms Fulton said she fears for herself and her family now that Mr McConnell and his daughter have been promised new accommodation away from Ballymun.
"I'm worried because I'm going to be there on my own," she said.
"I just want to get out for my kids' sake," she told the Irish Independent yesterday. "It's a living hell."
She went public with her plight on RTE Radio's 'Liveline' programme yesterday in a desperate bid to get re-housed as soon as possible.
But a spokesman for Dublin Corporation said that while special consideration was given to some people on the waiting list for compassionate reasons, there remains a backlog of people who are waiting to be re-housed.
"If there is an offer made to someone it could be some time before there's a spot available," he said.
- Allison Bray