‘We feel Melissa’s family’s pain’ says mum of woman killed by her boyfriend

Gemma Finnigan's friends and family are holding a fundraiser at The Mile in her memory.  From left Sharon Potter with Leon Egan, Gemma's sister Kristie Allen and Lauren Charlton with Lola Slater.
Gemma Finnigan's friends and family are holding a fundraiser at The Mile in her memory. From left Sharon Potter with Leon Egan, Gemma's sister Kristie Allen and Lauren Charlton with Lola Slater.

The heartbroken mother of a young woman killed by her disturbed boyfriend say they feel the pain the family of Melissa Liddle are going through.

Jennifer Finnigan’s world came crashing down when her daughter Gemma Finnigan, 24, was strangled and stabbed to death by her boyfriend Daniel Johnson, 33, in the home they shared in Church View, Boldon, on September 13, 2013.

Gemma Finnigan was stabbed and strangled by Daniel Johnson, who said he thought she had been possessed by the devil.

Gemma Finnigan was stabbed and strangled by Daniel Johnson, who said he thought she had been possessed by the devil.

Johnson, who believed Gemma had been possessed by Satan, was jailed for life last November after admitting manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibilty.

Two years on Ms Finnigan says that, despite the time that has passed, she has been unable to grieve for her daughter. She is currently awaiting the result of a Serious Case Review which was launched into the case.

Ms Finnigan said: “We still have not had the chance to grieve. We are still waiting for the Serious Case Review to come out and for someone to take some responsibility for what has happened.

“Every day I think about Gemma and hearing about Melissa’s death just brings everything back as the cases are just so similar. We had also wanted a murder charge but never got it.”

Gemma’s sister Kristi, 17, said: “It is just awful and we know exactly what her family are going through.

“Gemma is still very much a part of our family and will always be in our hearts.”

To celebrate Gemma’s life her family are hosting two fundraisers in her memory.

Tomorrow friends and family will gather in Seaburn and walk along the coastline to the Sundial in South Shields in a sponsored walk in aid of the Special Care Baby Unit.

A half-term kids disco will then take place on October 28 at the Mile in South Shields from 1pm until 4pm. The event will also be in aid of the Special Care Baby Unit and will feature raffles, tombolas and children’s mascots.

Gemma’s nephew Tyler Allen, 10, was due to be taking part in the Junior Great North Run later today in memory of his aunt.

Ms Finnigan added: “Gemma had friends who had babies who had been treated by the Special Care Baby Unit and it was something which was really close to her heart.

“We are trying to raise as much money as we can with these events for the unit in memory of Gemma and also celebrate Gemma’s life.”

Tickets, priced £2, are available by contacting Sharon Potter on 07542 627 673.