Family left haunted by nightmares after pub landlord’s murder

The mother of a pub landlord who was brutally murdered said her family is “broken” and will “never be the same” since he was killed.

Scott Gilhooly, 44, was stabbed to death on May 17 by the “sadistic” Lawrence Bourke, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in Basildon Crown Court today.

The court heard how Mr Gilhooly had taken Bourke under his roof, offering him a room in his flat above the pub after the 24-year-old found himself homeless.

During Bourke’s sentencing, impact statements were read aloud from Mr Gilhooly’s mother Doreen and one of Scott’s brother’s, Spencer.

Both heartbreaking statements revealed how the family has been left irreparably shattered by the loss of their beloved son and brother.

Just ten days before Mr Gilhooly was murdered, his father had been laid to rest after passing away on March 31, only adding to the unimaginable pain of his family.

‘Scott is my best friend, my soul mate’

Scott Gilhooly was murdered at the Swiss Bell Pub in Braintree

Reading aloud Ms Gilhooly’s statement, prosecuting barrister Andrew Jackson said: “Where do I start? Scott is my best friend, my soul mate. He makes me laugh, he is my hero and his life has been cut short by that man.

“I can’t even begin to express my anger, I have never felt this sort of pain.”

She added: “The loss of a child is the worst experience anyone can go through, to lose a child in the way I have lost Scott, I can’t even begin to explain in words.”

Ms Gilhooly explained how Scott was her “absolute rock” and had cared for her after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, including making her soup when she was ill and taking her shopping whenever she needed.

“Now all I’m able to do is cry, this has broken my family,” Ms Gilhooly said.

“When I sleep I have terrible nightmares. I have tablets to calm me so I can get some respite from the unimaginable hurt and pain I’m feeling.”

‘Now there’s just emptiness’

Scott Gilhooly was murdered at The Swiss Bell pub in Braintree
Scott Gilhooly was killed at The Swiss Bell pub in Braintree
(Image: Essex Police)

Ms Gilhooly said Scott’s death has left a “void” in the family’s lives, adding she feels “so lonely” now.

“I don’t know how to cope, we did so much together,” she said.” How can I recover from this? I am so empty.

“When ten days after laying my husband to rest the most unimaginable happened to me, my son was murdered.”

She referred to her three sons as her “three amigos” who have now been broken and will “never be fixed”.

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“My life was so full before he died and now there’s just emptiness,” Mr Jackson read.

Moving onto one of Scott’s brother’s impact statements, Mr Jackson read aloud to the court Spencer Gilhooly’s words.

In his statement, Spencer said he can no longer sleep – only having nightmares when he does that are “so vivid” he lashes out in his sleep.

Every time he hears the sound of sirens now he is taken back to that horrific day, Mr Jackson read, when he received a text to say that armed police were outside the pub.

Flowers laid for murdered landlord Scott Gilhooly
Flowers laid for murdered landlord Scott Gilhooly
(Image: Aidan Kelly)

“The impact on family, friends and local community and work colleagues is indescribable, our family jigsaw is incomplete,” Spencer said.

He added: “Scott was always the entertainer, he would light up the quietest room and brighten any moment with his cheeky smile. I miss that smile.

“He was the brother which was there for me no matter what and the uncle who gave my eldest son his first job working in pub.

“He rang at any time of the day or night to laugh and joke with his nephews.”

Spencer added they will carry what happened to Scott as a “life sentence” and know life will never be the same again.

In Court today, Mr Justice Griffiths sentenced Bourke to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 25 years, less 367 days in custody on remand.

Essex Live