The partner of Kevin Kearney who was murdered in a local park in October speaks out about his killing for the first time

‘Kevin’s killers the real threat’

By Staff Reporter

THE PARTNER of Kevin Kearney, who was shot by dissident republicans in October, has spoken publicly for the first time about his murder saying his killers are the ‘real threat’ to the community.

Charlene Whelan, who is the mother of two of Kevin’s daughters Nicole (17) and Jessica (8) says she wants everybody to know ‘the real Kevin’ and spoke of her children’s anguish at their father’s callous murder.

Dissident republicans who claimed he was a major player in drug dealing in North Belfast shot Kevin as he walked his dogs in Alexandra Park on 8 October and dumped his body in a lake. His body lay undiscovered for a day as his frantic partner and family searched for him, even walking past the spot where his body lay.

Charlene is adamant that the killers’ allegations about his involvement in the drug trade are untrue. Claims also made by his killers in the wake of his murder that he had ‘refused to heed’ previous warnings were also rubbished by his devastated partner.

Charlene, who said a piece of her died with her 46 year old partner, insisted no-one had approached Kevin to issue a threat and asked if he was in such danger why he would have followed the same routine every day.

“It is just unbelievable that Kevin was murdered over absolutely nothing,” said an emotional Charlene.

“All the lies that came out after were all nonsense. They had to justify murdering Kevin so they had to come up with this load of nonsense. It is filth, it is stinking. They weren’t doing it for the good of community. Kevin was of no harm to anybody. They were doing it for themselves because they didn’t like him and out of pure and utter jealousy. Kevin drove a flashy car but it was a hire purchase car. There was money owed on it.”

Charlene says the Kevin she and her loved ones knew was a real family man.

“It angers me when it is said he was murdered for drugs. They are trying to justify it but is disgusting what they done.

“He lived and breathed for my kids. He had them more than me. He dropped them to school and picked them up. He cooked dinner, did their homework, not only Jessica but also her friends. They said Kevin was in a gang. The only gang he was in would have been with his children.”

Charlene said she had nothing to say to his brutal killers but has faith they will be caught and justice will prevail.

“They are destroying the community. They are doing more destruction and harm than anybody else. How can they justify what they are doing? How can they justify killing Kevin? By the lies and the dirt?

“I’m confident they will be caught. What goes around comes around. I have my faith and maybe it is the only thing that is keeping me going but I’m still hoping and praying.”

Charlene recalled the day of the murder and how she walked past the pond where Kevin’s body was discovered during their search for him.

“The dogs came back themselves to my house at 9.30 that morning but I never thought anything of it. I thought he was just talking to someone and they came on around. I text him reminding him I was getting the kids from school. If I hadn’t collected them we would have known sooner because they wouldn’t have been picked up. It wasn’t until six that night and everybody was trying to phone him. I went round and his teacup with his green tea hadn’t been touched. And then I knew something wasn’t right. I don’t know why I walked round that park looking for him. Something just brought me to that park. And we walked past him. That time he was under the water. It kills me the way they left him.”

The murder has rocked Charlene and her daughters to the core as well as Kevin’s family.

“Nicole and Jessica are going to a counsellor. They idolised their father. Jessica doesn’t leave the house. The hardest thing I ever had to do was sit her down and tell her that her father was murdered. She asked me why and I can’t tell her why because I don’t know.

“I am all they have now. They are scared. Jessica hates going to school and leaving me because the last time she seen her daddy was that morning she waved to him and then when she came out of school he was gone.

“They have just stolen my kid’s futures. Nicole’s 18th birthday is in May and Jessica’s communion in June. The two biggest days of their lives and Kevin should be there.”

Charlene also spoke of Kevin’s family’s loss.

“I’ll never get over the loss of Kevin. I will never have any closure. His family is broke. His mother has aged 10 years. She can’t understand why somebody took her son from her. Kevin should be celebrating Christmas with his family. Having to explain to my kids why their daddy will not be here for Christmas is heartbreaking.

“We know the true Kevin and the man he was and I want people to know the man Kevin was. He lived and breathed for his kids. He would have bent over backwards for anybody.

“There is just no life in me anymore, the only thing keeping me going is my girls. He was my best friend. Every day has been a nightmare and it is getting harder and harder.”

Police say the investigation into the murder is ‘very much active and ongoing’. To date, six men have been arrested in connection to the murder.

Police investigating the murder are still asking the public: “Did anyone see Mr Kearney in Alexandra Park on the morning of Tuesday 8 October between 8.45am and 9.15am with his dogs? We know that people were in the park and we would make a specific appeal to people running in the park.

“Did anyone see a silver Peugeot 406 car in the Alexandra Avenue, Antrim Road area on that Tuesday morning? Its registration number is GNZ 8168. This car was found burnt out at Donore Court in the New Lodge area around 9.30am on the Tuesday.”

They also believe a Vortex Scorpion BMX-type bike may have been used by someone involved in the shooting.

“Do you know this bike? Do you know who owns it? Did you see anyone riding it on the morning of Tuesday 8 October around Dunmore Avenue or Alexandra Park?”

Anyone with information is asked to contact 02891801507. Or to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.

 

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