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Offaly man and his partner were murdered in a fit of jealous rage

Story by Tom Kelly

Friday, 15th May, 2009 11:20am

The Offaly family of a man originally from Cloghan, were devastated this week to hear in a UK court the terrible details of his tragic and brutal murder.

Cloghan native Tommy McLoughlin, 60, a father of two, was found stabbed to death in his partner"s Blackpool flat two days before Christmas last year. The court heard how he and his partner Helen were murdered in a fit of jealous rage.

Graham Cox, 57, originally from Darlaston near Wolverhapton, pleaded guilty on Monday to the murder of Mr McLoughlin and his partner Helen, Cox"s ex-wife, on December 23, 2008.

He was sentenced to two life imprisonments and must serve at least 28 years before parole can be considered.

Cox, described as a 'manipulative control freak', sneaked into Helen"s flat to hide in a cupboard to spy on her and Tommy on the day of the double murder.

When Tommy went to the shop, Cox bound and gagged his wife in the bedroom. When Tommy returned, Helen witnessed his death as he was stabbed 24 times by Cox with a 15 inch chef"s knife.

Cox told Helen 'I can"t lose you and I can"t share you,' as he held the knife to her throat. He then stabbed her so hard that the knife came out the other side of her neck.

He then told her to go to sleep, kissed and stroked her hair.

Prosecutors told the court she was stabbed another 14 times.

The court also heard that Cox had subjected his wife to years of domestic violence and had assaulted her on December 8 of last year. He was out on bail when he carried out the brutal murders.

'It was a brutal and merciless killing carried out in the presence of Helen, who must have experienced the most horrific few minutes before you turned on her.

This was nothing less than two brutal, ruthless, cold-blooded murders,' said Judge Anthony Russell QC, Recorder of Preston.

Cox showed no emotion as he was given the two life sentences.

When Helen began seeing Tommy, Cox got increasingly jealous and started spying on the couple. He told friends he would murder them both and told Helen over the phone 'I"m going to kill you and anyone who sleeps with you.'

On December 22 last year, Cox let himself into Helen"s flat after they went to the pub.

He hid in a cupboard from 9.30pm until around 1am, listening to their conversation then tied up his wife before murdering Tommy when he returned from the shop with cigarettes.

Cox fled the scene but confessed to one of his sons and was arrested the next day.

Tommy"s brother, John McLoughlin was in court with his wife Florence to see Cox being sentenced. He said his brother had 15 siblings and two daughters, and the whole family was devastated.

'It has been a horrendous thing to happen. Words cannot describe how I feel,' he said.

Tommy was buried on January 23 in Blackpool and many of his family members travelled from Offaly to attend the funeral.

His daughters Shelly Byrne and Debbie McLoughlin paid tribute to their father and said the entire family was left 'devastated' by the tragedy.

Tommy lived in England for 36 years but often came home to visit family and friends.

A painter and decorator, he was caring for his partner Helen, who was terminally ill for the past two years and also did some charity work.

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