The sisters of Denise Morgan, the Louth woman murdered by her abusive ex-boyfriend in New York last month, have spoken about the “warning signs” of a dangerous relationship.
Ms Morgan, from Tullyallen, was shot in an apparent murder-suicide at her home in Queens on October 21st by her ex-partner, Joed Taveras, who was also found dead at the scene.
Speaking with RTÉ's Prime Time, the sisters of Ms Morgan, Lisa and Shannon, discussed the "relentless cycle of abuse" that their sister was forced to endure at the hands of Taveras, a former soldier, during their relationship.
“He shot her in the back of the head,” Lisa Morgan said, “She tried to run away from him.”
"There was fighting and then there was the gunshot. And 10 seconds later, there was a second gunshot."
Ms Morgan had decided to leave Taveras, who attempted to "control every aspect of her life," after she discovered he had been cheating on her. She had signed a lease for a new apartment and was due to move on November 1st.
“We knew she was in a bad situation, and she kept telling us, ‘no, it’s okay. I’m gonna be moving out, don’t worry.’ But like, she always told us. And that’s the guilt that’s gonna live with us forever as knowing what could have been,” Shannon said.
“Sometimes as women, we tend to ignore this behaviour, the jealousy, the control,” Shannon added.
“We are speaking as Denise’s voice, just to try and raise awareness against domestic violence. If you’re noticing any of these kind of things that we mention, you just need to get out of that situation,” Lisa said.
The family hopes to raise awareness of the “red flags” of abusive partners to help others escape similar situations.
“Once you see it at the start, you always have your intuition. And to follow it, you know, Denise knew that he was jealous, but she played it off and she played it off and until she couldn’t. And just to know that they’re never gonna change and to walk once you see the red flags, it’s very important,” Shannon said.
“The first, the first moments, like the first couple of months with someone, you could tell how they’re gonna behave in a relationship. Which he did. He did show it. He was always jealous.”
The sisters recently told The Sunday World of their disgust over an obituary for Taveras posted publicly by his family.
“He’s been portrayed as a victim in that obituary. I understand that his family are grieving as well, but they need to do that in private because he has destroyed a whole family,” Shannon told The Sunday World.
“He has destroyed a whole community. He has destroyed all of Denise’s friends. They should do their grieving in private and not be writing that he is a great man, because he has been abusing Denise for years,” she said.
“It wasn’t just out of the blue, he was an abuser. He was a mental abuser and a controlling person. He couldn’t handle Denise leaving him.”