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Galway woman’s killer sentenced to minimum of 40 years’ jail



A convicted sex offender who murdered a Galway woman at her home in north London, has been sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 40 years.

32-year-old Kasim Lewis was due to go on trial last week, having previously denied any involvement in the killing of Cathy Burke at her home in at Hill Road, Muswell Hill London.


However, last Monday afternoon, he pleaded guilty to her murder.

Last year, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for a separate murder on Christmas Eve, 2017 – just weeks after he murdered Ms Burke.

After his conviction, his DNA was linked to the death of Ms Burke, who was found stripped, tied up and stabbed in her house November 16, 2017.

Murderer Kasim Lewis was sentenced to a second life sentence.

The 55-year-old, a retired civil servant who was originally from Glenard in Salthill, had been living in the London property for around 20 years.

Neighbours raised the alarm after she had not been seen for a number of days, and police entered the property. She had been stabbed in the abdomen, between her shoulder blades and in her neck. There were no defensive injuries, the Old Bailey heard.

Crispin Aylett QC, prosecuting, said: “The prosecution submission is that Cathy Burke must have simply been too terrified to resist.”

Lewis was linked to the scene by DNA evidence, and experts also tracked Ms Burke’s mobile phones – which had been stolen – in the direction of where Lewis was living.

He is already serving a minimum of 29 years in jail for the brutal murder of barmaid Iuliana Tudos just five weeks after Ms Burke’s murder.

The judge described the barmaid’s murder as “barbaric”, “wicked beyond belief” and said Lewis showed “appalling brutality”.

Ms Burke’s son, Niall Galbally, stared at Lewis through the dock glass as he stepped into the witness box to read a moving victim impact statement.

“November 16, 2017 was the day my life was completely uprooted. My world came crashing down before me. In the midst of my second year at university I received a phone call from a then-neighbour who said the police and ambulance services had been outside our home for some time.

“I will never forget the chilling words that followed – Niall, I don’t know how to tell you this, but they believe your mum has been found dead. Being 70-odd miles away in Brighton, feelings of utter despair and misery have consumed me. Feelings that would only increase in unquantifiable amounts that morning when the police informed me and my family that my mum’s death was now being treated as a murder investigation.

“Growing up in London I had unfortunately become accustomed to hearing about murders on a far too regular basis. Never ever did I expect that murder would land at my front door. Nothing prepares you for that.

“There are simply no amount of words that can describe the sheer devastation that has been caused to me and my family. My life hasn’t been the same since, nor will it be the same again. A wicked and senseless attack that has caused an untold amount of pain.

“A massive hole resides in my heart for the loss of my mother and no amount of justice will mend that. But I take great comfort from the fact that the man responsible for such brutality has been caught.

“This is the close of a horrible chapter in my life, but the opening where I can leave this nightmare behind me,” he said.

He locked eyes on Lewis again as he slowly walked back to his seat in the well of the court.

Mr Aylett told the court: ‘‘It is a statement of the obvious, but whoever was responsible for the murder of Cathy Burke could only have been brutal and perverted.

“More particularly, the prosecution suggests his motive could only have been sexual because he would not, would he, have had to strip Ms Burke naked simply to steal her mobiles.

“On the other hand, this sexually inspired murder took place without any apparent form of sexual assault. The prosecution submit that these circumstances suggest that there must have been a very real risk of the killer striking again, and so it turned out.”

Lewis was sentenced by Judge Richard Marks at the Central Criminal Court – the Old Bailey – on Thursday to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 40 years, to run concurrently to his existing sentence.


Galway ‘masterplan’ needed to tackle housing and transport crises



From the Galway City Tribune – An impassioned plea for a ‘masterplan’ that would guide Galway City into the future has been made in the Dáil. Galway West TD Catherine Connolly stated this week that there needed to be an all-inclusive approach with “vision and leadership” in order to build a sustainable city.

Deputy Connolly spoke at length at the crisis surrounding traffic and housing in Galway city and said that not all of the blame could be laid at the door of the local authority.

She said that her preference would be the provision of light rail as the main form of public transport, but that this would have to be driven by the government.

“I sat on the local council for 17 years and despaired at all of the solutions going down one road, metaphorically and literally. In 2005 we put Park & Ride into the development plan, but that has not been rolled out. A 2016 transport strategy was outdated at the time and still has not been updated.

“Due to the housing crisis in the city, a task force was set up in 2019. Not a single report or analysis has been published on the cause of the crisis,” added Deputy Connolly.

She then referred to a report from the Land Development Agency (LDA) that identified lands suitable for the provision of housing. But she said that two-thirds of these had significant problems and a large portion was in Merlin Park University Hospital which, she said, would never have housing built on it.

In response, Minister Simon Harris spoke of the continuing job investment in the city and also in higher education, which is his portfolio.

But turning his attention to traffic congestion, he accepted that there were “real issues” when it came to transport, mobility and accessibility around Galway.

“We share the view that we need a Park & Ride facility and I understand there are also Bus Connects plans.

“I also suggest that the City Council reflect on her comments. I am proud to be in a Government that is providing unparalleled levels of investment to local authorities and unparalleled opportunities for local authorities to draw down,” he said.

Then Minister Harris referred to the controversial Galway City Outer Ring Road which he said was “struck down by An Bord Pleanála”, despite a lot of energy having been put into that project.

However, Deputy Connolly picked up on this and pointed out that An Bord Pleanála did not say ‘No’ to the ring road.

“The High Court said ‘No’ to the ring road because An Bord Pleanála acknowledged it failed utterly to consider climate change and our climate change obligations.

“That tells us something about An Bord Pleanála and the management that submitted such a plan.”

In the end, Minister Harris agreed that there needed to be a masterplan for Galway City.

“I suggest it is for the local authority to come up with a vision and then work with the Government to try to fund and implement that.”

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Official opening of Galway’s new pedestrian and cycle bridge



The new Salmon Weir pedestrian and cycle bridge will be officially opened to the public next Friday, May 26.

Work on the €10 million bridge got underway in April 2022, before the main structure was hoisted into place in early December.

A lunchtime tape-cutting ceremony will take place on Friday, as the first pedestrians and cyclists traverse the as-yet-unnamed bridge.

The Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, previously said the bridge, once opened, would remove existing conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and traffic “as well as facilitating the Cross-City Link public transport corridor over the existing 200-year-old bridge”.

The naming of the new bridge has been under discussion by the Council’s Civic Commemorations Committee since late last year.

One name that has been in the mix for some time is that of the first woman in Europe to graduate with an engineering degree – Alice Perry.

Ms Perry, who was from Wellpark, graduated from Queen’s College Galway (now University of Galway) in 1906. The university’s engineering building is named in her honour.

The bridge was built by Jons Civil Engineering firm in County Meath and was assembled off-site before being transported to Galway. Funding for the project was provided in full by the National Transport Authority and the European Regional Development Fund.

(Photo: Sheila Gallagher captured the city’s new pedestrian footbridge being raised on the south side of the Salmon Weir Bridge in December. It will officially open next Friday, May 26).

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Minister branded ‘a disgrace’ for reversing land rezoning in Galway City



From the Galway City Tribune – Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, Kieran O’Donnell was labelled a “disgrace” for overturning councillors’ decisions to rezone land in the new City Development Plan.

Minister O’Donnell (pictured) confirmed in a letter to Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath last week that he was reversing 25 material alternations made by councillors to the CDP 2023-29. He made the decision on the advice of Office of Planning Regulator (OPR).

Minister O’Donnell directed that 14 land parcels that were subject to land-use zoning changes by councillors as part of the Material Alterations to the Draft CDP should be reversed.

He directed that a further 11 land parcels in the city should become “unzoned”.

The Minister found that the CDP had not been made in a manner consistent with recommendations of the OPR, which required specific changes to the plan to ensure consistency with the national planning laws and guidelines.

At last week’s Council meeting Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) asked for clarity on the process by which councillors could rezone the lands that had been changed by the Minister’s direction.

Cllr Declan McDonnell said, “What he [Minister O’Donnell] has done is an absolute disgrace”.

And he asked: “Do we have to have another development plan meeting to deal with it?”

Both Cllrs Hoare and McDonnell wondered what would become of the lands that were rezoned or unzoned by the ministerial direction.

Mr McGrath said the Council had put forward an argument in favour of retaining the material alterations in the plan, but ultimately the Minister sided with OPR.

He said if councillors want to make alterations to the new plan, they could go through the process of making a material alteration but this was lengthy.

The Save Roscam Peninsula campaign welcomed the Minister’s decision.

In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, it said the direction would mean the Roscam village area on the Roscam Peninsula will be unzoned and a number of land parcels would revert back to agriculture/high amenity.

A spokesperson for the campaign said: “the material alterations made by city councillors following lobbying by developers continued the long-standing practice of councillors facilitating a developer-led plan rather than an evidence- and policy-based plan that meets the needs of the city.

“The Minister’s direction is an important step in restoring confidence in the planning system. It is clear from the City Council’s own evidence on future housing projections that there was no requirement to zone these lands for residential purposes in order to meet the needs of the targeted population increase up to 2029,” the spokesperson added.

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