'How Can Evil Such As This Have Been Hidden For So Long?' - Carlow Mother Tells Of Grief After Husband Jailed For Killing Their Sons
A Carlow woman has spoken out about the death of her two sons in a harrowing victim impact statement, after her husband received a life sentence for their deaths.
Sanjeev Chada was jailed for life after pleading guilty to the murder of ten-year-old Eoghan and five-year-old Ruairi in Mayo in July 2013.
The case was brought to the public's attention with a Child Rescue Ireland alert was issued for the children when they went missing while on a bowling trip with their father. The bodies of the boys were later discovered in the boot of Chada's car when he collided with a wall in Ballintubber. They had died by strangulation, with Chada also attempting to strangle himself.
The court heard Chada had embezzled €56,000 from a community centre to pay debts from online trading and had decided to kill his children to spare them the shame of his behaviour.
In her victim impact statement, issued today, Kathleen Chada revealed her disbelief and heartache at losing her two boys following the actions of her husband of twelve years.
"Sanj and I met about 18 years ago. We got married 11-and-a-half years ago and went on to have Eoghan and Ruairi who were 10 and five when they died. I thought we were a normal, ordinary family. Blessed to have two beautiful healthy boys, a lovely home, and good family and friends around us.I thought I knew my husband. On Sunday the 28th of July 2013, Sanj brought me a cup of coffee in bed and I had a lie-in.
He made lunch that day and we watched a program on healthy eating as it was something Eoghan in particular was interested in and both boys were learning about in school. Sanj had said he would take the boys bowling for a treat and to let me have a break.
It was a fairly typical Sunday. The boys finished off their favourite dinner of dahl and rice and off they went. Little did I know that Sanj intended I never see any of them alive again.
I question why he left me behind? I have to live with the belief he wanted me dead as well. He just didn’t know how - I would have fought tooth and nail for my boys. Eoghan and Ruairi were bright, happy, sporty, popular, gorgeous boys who had their whole lives ahead of them. Their head mistress in school described them as having the full package, and boy did they.
Eoghan had so many plans for his future. He wanted to be a farmer like his uncle and Poppy. He also wanted to be a chef like another uncle. In fact he and one of his best friends planned to open a restaurant together. And because they were so interested in magic they wanted all the waiters and waitresses to learn magic tricks to entertain customers. He also wanted to be a hurler and play for Kilkenny or Carlow. He hoped to be able to bring Carlow to Croke Park for an All-Ireland final one day. He did once get the opportunity to play in Croke Park with his local club Ballinkillen – he was so proud. He also wanted to be a golfer like Rory McIlroy. He couldn’t wait to be old enough to play on a proper golf course and was so excited have just become a member of Borris Golf Club on his 10th birthday at the end of June.
Ruairi just wanted to follow in Eoghan’s footsteps. Everything Eoghan did then he could do too. He had so much confidence because he always knew he had his big brother looking out for him. And I know Eoghan continues to do that now. I have no doubt in my mind that Eoghan fought for both their lives on that night last year.
They had everything to live for. So much potential cut down in such a cruel and violent way by their own father who they loved and adored. He was their hero. How do I live with the knowledge of their last moments? How scared they must have been. Did they cry for me? Did they scream? Did they know what was happening? The betrayal of their love for Sanj is so painful for me to imagine. How can evil such as this have been hidden for so long in a seemingly loving father? How can he be so utterly, utterly selfish? They and I trusted him so totally.
In fact all during that long night last year, because he had the boys with him I was so sure he would be ok. It never occurred to me that the boys were in danger from Sanj. How could they be…he was their father and loved them I thought. He has robbed us of so very, very much – me, our family and the boy’s friends and the community. Who can ever know what potential the boys had in the future? It is all gone. How can we ever understand or accept our loss? How do I explain to their friends and little cousins that we now have to bring a birthday cake and cards to a grave? How do I reassure them Santa and the tooth fairy do visit heaven but that we can’t?
I am so very, very proud of my two boys. They touched so many lives in their short ones. Even their death has impacted so many. Their memory will continue to live on in Ballinkillen, in my heart and in the hearts of all who truly love them.
But how could Sanj have done this? I don’t ask why anymore…just how?
He even took Eoghan and Ruairi’s last moments from me. Even though he is responsible for their deaths he got to hold them while they were still warm and then just dumped them in the boot of the car taking all dignity from them and abandoning them. By the time they were home they were so cold. I struggled to hold them.
It broke my heart to have them home with me but not be able to lie between them snuggling as we did so many nights. They couldn’t even spend their last night at home on their own side of the bed because we had to disguise the damage to Eoghan’s head. Sanj did not have to bury his children, I did. I stood by that graveside as two white coffins with my whole life in them were laid side by side - big boys now but always my babies.
There is no more joy in my life – only memories. He has robbed Eoghan, Ruairi and I of everything. He has left me to live a double life sentence everyday with no chance of release in my lifetime."