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Great Britain

Murdered teacher’s family: Our hearts have been ripped apart

Family of Robert Flowerday console each other outside court on Friday
Family of Robert Flowerday console each other outside court on Friday

The family of a retired teacher who was killed during a burglary in his home have told how their hearts have been “ripped apart”.

Michael Gerard Owens, 35, was jailed on Friday for a minimum of 16 years.

Family members of Robert Flowerday including Alan (brother) and Pat (sister) speak to the media after Michael Gerard Owens was given 16-year minimum jail term

Family members of Robert Flowerday including Alan (brother) and Pat (sister) speak to the media after Michael Gerard Owens was given 16-year minimum jail term

The body of 64-year-old Robert Flowerday was found in his house on Mill Road in Crumlin in January 2018. A hammer, hatchet and poker were used in the murder.

His brother Alan Flowerday said: “The family has been devastated by Robert’s murder and our hearts ripped apart.

“This is not justice for taking our brother’s life so cruelly. Life should mean life. Here we are the victims of our brother’s murder, suffering the loss, feeling the agony of the torture to which Robert was subjected to and then as taxpayers footing the bill for his legal aid and his accommodation in Maghaberry.

“Not only have we lost a brother but the community of Crumlin have lost someone they loved and so many children have lost out on his amazing teaching skills. He helped anyone and did so on a regular basis crossing communities and bringing people together. No job was too much for him.”

The court was told Owens had owed money because of his cocaine addiction.

The judge said his “attempt to steal money escalated into a violent assault” and Mr Flowerday had suffered a “vicious and prolonged attack in his own home”.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Flowerday had 18 lacerations to his scalp, face and neck and 20 bruises on his hands, arms, legs and torso.

His nose and jaw were broken.

The judge said Mr Flowerday had led a “worthy and blameless” life.

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