Elderly mother reveals she questioned her Catholic faith as son's schoolboy killers are jailed

Elderly mother reveals she questioned her Catholic faith as son's schoolboy killers are jailed

AS HER son’s schoolboy killers were jailed this week, an elderly mother says she was left doubting her Catholic faith.

Katherine Donovan, 90, says the death of her son John following an unprovoked attack in Leicester in September last year made her question her beliefs.

Three teenagers, aged 14, 15 and 16 – who cannot be named for legal reasons – were this week jailed for five years each for manslaughter.

Mr Donovan, 64, who the Leicester Mercury reports was proud of his Kerry roots, died 13 days after the attack, with his mother Katherine at his bedside.

A post mortem examination revealed he died as a result of injuries sustained during the assault.


After the sentencing, Mrs Donovan revealed the whole incident had left her doubting her Catholic faith.

“I take comfort in believing that John is now with his father, who passed away some years ago,” she said.

“I am practising Catholic and I believe we’re all supposed to meet up in another life.

“However, this incident had left me doubting and questioning by beliefs.”

Mr Donovan was attacked on King Street, Leicester, on September 2 last year as he returned from a supermarket after buying beer.

The youths followed him down a quiet road before attacking him from behind and kicking him to the ground.

Mr Donovan suffered a fractured shoulder and pelvis in the attack, and lay prone as his victims ‘toasted’ him with the beer they had stolen.

During the trial, the court heard how the trio took ‘evident pride’ in their actions.

Mr Donovan was taken to hospital but died 13 days later as a result of cardiac arrest caused by injuries sustained during the assault.

'My little boy'

Mrs Donovan explained that despite his age, John was still her ‘little boy’.

“I am 90 years old and I never expected to go through this trauma,” she said.

“John was 65 years old [sic] but he was still my little boy and this is the worst thing that could possibly happen to any mother or father.

“John has two brothers, David and Joe – without them and the rest of the family, I don’t think I would have been able to carry on.

“John had retired after working for most of his life and was now in a position to enjoy having some quality time with his family.

“He regularly came down to Birmingham to watch West Bromwich Albion with his brothers at the weekend.

“John wouldn’t harm a fly, he didn’t have a bad bone in his body.

When he was being treated in hospital he described the attack on him as cowardly – ultimately this senseless act of aggression has caused the death of a gentle and harmless man.”