"I Am Nothing Now But An Empty Shell" - Michael Dennany

Michael Dennany says losing his two children has ripped the guts out of him.

The father of two children, who were murdered by their mother after she deliberately set their car on fire in Westmeath, says their deaths have ripped the guts out of him.

Michael Dennany says the two happiest days of his life were the days Thelma and Mikey were born. 

Lynn Eager, of Winetown, Rathowen, has been handed a life sentence for murdering her two children in Multyfarnham on September 9th last year.

The 49-year-old was pulled from the car by a passerby, and she survived with just minimal burns but her 5-year-old daughter, Thelma; and 2-year-old son, Mikey, died in the blaze. 

In a victim impact statement Mr. Dennany says his two children were fearless and mischievous partners in crime.

He also stated  "I am nothing now but an empty shell. There's no purpose to life. I don’t belong anywhere. I am an outsider looking in."

He said the only comfort he has is they're together forever.

In his sister Mary's victim impact statement, she said the look of devastation on his face when I told him Mikey and Thelma were dead will haunt me forever. 

Superintendent David Nolan says any incident involving children is difficult for the emergency services but this one was particularly traumatic for those who attended the scene:

In a letter read out in court today, Ms. Egar apologised for what she did and said she was now full of regret.

The children's father, Michael Dennany, gave the following impact statement:

Thelma and Mikey's births were the two happiest days of my life. Being a Daddy was something I thought I'd never experience, but holding Thelma for the first time, I was probably the most terrified but happiest man alive. I was smitten.

Being responsible for someone so small and precious gave my life the focus and direction it had been missing. I promised to do my best to give her anything and everything she wanted. Two and a half years later Mikey arrived, and Thelma was the best big Sister. She wanted to do everything for him - feed him, change him, hold him. I thought she'd lose interest but no. From the moment they met, they were stuck together like glue. Fearless, mischievous partners in crime.

I had so many plans hopes and dreams for us. But all that's gone. All I'm left with are photos and memories. What ifs and if onlys.

I was meant to be working in Longford that Day. Was going to bring them to collect chestnuts after school. We never got to do that. They were my life and their deaths have ripped the guts out of me.

Daddy should have been there to protect them. When they needed me the most, I was useless.

I am nothing now but an empty shell. There's no purpose to life. I don’t belong anywhere. I am an outsider looking in.

People tell me to ask for help and I have tried but the reality is there isn't appropriate help out there for these situations. Not even the professionals know what to say or do.

When I left for work that day, they were still asleep - which was usual on a Friday, they'd be wrecked after a long week at school. I didn't get the chance to say goodbye.

I used to come home after work to a busy home. Full of noisy toys, giggles, and love. The toys are still there, but there's no noise, no giggles, no joy;
nothing but silence, heartache, and despair. I miss Thelma and Mikey racing to meet me.

Climbing into the jeep, unclipping my seatbelt for me.

Talking over each other; asking where I was and what I had been doing. Before they died, I could count on one hand the number of times I'd cried - and two of them were the days they were born. Now I am constantly crying or on the what to say.

There's nothing I can do to take her pain away or my own.

Most of all their Granny, my mother. I can't talk to her anymore, I don't know destroyed the innocence of too many children and the lives of too many adults should be able to look at an adult with sadness and pity. This event has upsetting me. Even my little nieces and nephews are stand-offish. No child me. They feel the need to keep their children quiet and out of sight for fear of verge of it.

People avoid me. They don't know what to say or how to act around I wanted to die that day - all I wanted was to be with them. To feel their arms around my neck, their squashy hugs and Thelma's fingers catching in my hair.

But I couldn't. I was still a Daddy. I had to look after them first. At my age l'd hoped I'd live long enough to see them through school. And at a push maybe see them married. But I never, in my wildest dreams thought I'd bury them.

Bury them is all I could do. I never held them one last time. Never got to say goodbye. The only comfort I have is that they're together forever.

I was at a friends house at the weekend his three grandchildren were there two of them are the same age as Thelma and Mikey,  just months between them.

He made the comment its shite and unfair that your missing out on all of that.

It was wonderful watching them play and getting an image of what Thelma and Mikey would be like now. They'd be going on 4 and 7 now. But Mikey will always be two and Thelma will always be five. They'll never have another Birthday. Thelma loved birthdays. Didn't matter whose birthday it was. She'd insist on us all lighting the candles and singing happy birthday at least three times before the cake could be cut.
Birthdays that used to be such fun are now sad lonesome affairs.

No longer celebrated but marked with a mass and tears around the grave.

Thelma loved school. She loved football. She couldn't understand why they had to take weekends and holidays off. She was mad to learn to read and write. Her two favourite things to do in Auntie Mary's was to play shop and type away on their laptop. She used to say she was writing her book. Mikey was Thelma's echo. He copied everything she done. He was nearly 3. His little personality was only starting to shine. He loved tractors, diggers - all machinery. And the two of them would spend hours in the jeep, playing taxi - fighting over who's turn it was to drive.
There are reminders of them all over the house. Their handprints on the wall going up the stairs. Their fishing rods in the corner. An unused sitting room full of toys.

When we came home from our last holiday, they got so excited when the steel arrived for the extension. They wanted to help me build. The spatter of red oxide paint on the gravel and paths about the house are a hardwearing reminder of happier times, and a testament to Thelma and Mikey's messy efforts at painting. I thought we were making memories for them, similar to the ones I have helping my father build our house. Little did I know I was making happy memories for me. And it's those memories on lonely dark nights that chase the horror of their deaths away.
The extension never got built. They never got their own room. The money I had saved to build it was spent on burying them
Thelma and Mikey were beautiful. They always had a wave and a hello for everybody.

That day robbed them of growing up. It robbed them of birthdays, communions, confirmations. Robbed us all. I miss my little rascals. I'm lost here without them. I'm only biding my time until we're together again.

Given the chance to grow up, they mightn't have changed the world but they definitely would have made it a better place.

The children's aunt, Mary Dennany, gave the following statement:

The chance of Having children was something my brother thought had passed him by and then Thelma arrived. There is a beautiful photo at home of him sitting on the edge of a hospital bed with his big silly grin on his face and tears in his eyes holding her like she was so precious and delicate she might break. He would tell us in detail about her every burp, every bottle, every cry, he was besotted with her and her with
him they were always together when he wasn't working.

There is a similar photo of him with Mikey but by then he was a pro and far more relaxed looking. As Mikey got bigger Michael had to get a crew cab work van so he could bring both of them with him on days off. they were his world.

The look of devastation on his face when I told him Mikey and Thelma were dead will haunt me forever. all our lives ended with theirs that horrible day. The deplorable act of unbelievable cruelty has ripped out our hearts, took all our joy and happiness, and left us not living but existing in an unending nightmare.

Thelma and Mikey's granny has given up. She has gone from a fun vibrant granny always planning for the next visit or occasion, be it a birthday or Christmas, a granny who totally immersed herself in the lives and achievements of all her grandchildren to a shadow of a woman waiting on death. Grief is consuming her. Thelma was her darling they spent so much time together.

She minded Thelma when their house was being renovated and when both worked before Mikey was born. Herself and Thelma had a very special bond.

Granny is partially sighted and from an early age Tells instinctively knew not to leave anything for her to trip over, if we were out anywhere she would tell granny if their was a step or curb and if tells fancied a biscuit or a treat she would ask granny if she wanted a cup of tea and the shout would go up "aunty Mary, granny wants tea".

She had a similar bond with her big cousin Keith or as she called him "teeth", she used to drive him crazy singing baby shark, and insisting he do the hand gestures. I had made him promise that when they were older if I had gone too old and doddery he had to corrupt them the same as I had corrupted him letting them drive the car and showing them how to party.

Keith was at the hospital the day they died. he was there when I told Michael. No 18 year old should have to experience that. he feels like he failed them by not being there to protect them, he misses them terribly and regrets not spending more time
with them as does his sister Roisin.

She was working abroad at the time. their death put an end to her adventures and travels. she wants to stay close to home now scared to miss out on family time. The previous September for Mikey's christening was the last time we were all together as a family, Roisin regrets being away so long and missing out on time with them we didn't know was so precious. She thought they had forever.

The impact of their deaths on my brothers John and Austin and their families is devastating. their cousins the same ages as them don't like to come visit anymore as it makes them sad, they say it is no fun without Mikey and Thelma can't say I blame them, it is no fun. and it is a sad house. There's memories and whispers of them everywhere, but their nowhere.

The closest we can get to them now is touching the soil on the grave that's touching the coffin that's touching them. I spend a lot of time at their grave. I can't bear the thought of them being alone. I spent the last few hours of Christmas eve into early Christmas morning sitting with them trying to sing them Christmas songs but mostly crying and hoping Santy visits heaven. pathetic isn't it.

I hate what our family has been reduced to, I hate that I'm constantly crying, I hate the nightmares sleep brings, and I really hate waking every morning those first few seconds when you think Christ what a horrible dream and then reality kicks in. My heart knows their gone but my head just can't accept it, maybe because we never got to see or hold them one last time. Never got to say a proper goodbye. The amount of times I've walked out of shops in tears after picking up a toy or looking for a sweatshirt in their sizes only to realise what I was doing.

Laughing or having fun with my other nephews and nieces makes me feel guilty, guilty that their being left out. Our world is empty without them. I have lost all faith in humanity, I doubt my own judgement and I don't think I will ever be able to trust or believe anyone ever again. I am angry at the world, angry at God but most of all angry at myself for being such a fool, For being so easily deceived and I'm consumed with guilt for failing in my duty to protect them.

Tells and Mikey were loving and full of mischief, there was no such thing as a stranger to them, just friends they had yet to meet. They had so much to give and so many things yet to do, but they were robbed of the chance.

Well never understand or know why Tells and Mikey had to die but we know they are loved and cherished and missed so so much. Their always on our mind and we will hold them in our hearts forever.

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