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With Paul Travi

Rose Coleman: family pays tribute to murdered great-grandmother

The family of Rose Coleman have spoken of their grief after her murderer was jailed for life.

The 85-year-old great-grandmother was killed in a vicious hammer attack in her Rise Park home in May.

Paul Prause today pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to a minimum of 22 years’ imprisonment.

Rose’s family paid tribute to her, while also speaking about the impact her death had had on them.

“There has not been a part of my life that has not been not only touched but almost devastated by the most violent death of my mum,” said Rose’s daughter Sharon Thomas. “When mum first met Paul and employed him on recommendation from her friend, we all had our doubts about him but she said, ‘no he is ok’. I always believed that mum was a good judge of character. How wrong were we?

“There is not a part of my life this has not affected, from my relationships, how I trust people and even the way I wonder what people think about. You think you know people, not just strangers, but family, friends, people you have known forever, you look at them with suspicion. I always have what has happened in my mind; I really feel I am living someone else’s life.

“There is no end to this horrible feeling, how can I explain how this feels? Complete and utter devastation, panic, doom, devastation.

“I go along approaching normal; I see something come on the TV and I think I will phone Mum and tell her. I have even picked up the phone and dialled the number. I landed up in a blubbering heap on the floor; not only she wasn’t there but the number has gone.

“There was so much more to my mum than a frail old dotty 85-year-old lady. My mum was elegant, beautiful of mind and body, she was full of fun, she had an answer for most problems, she loved people.”

Tributes left near to Rose’s home in the days after she was killed.

Rose’s son Robert added: “If I had to describe my mother I would describe her as someone who was strong and independent. My mum was a very kind and caring person who touched everyone who came into contact with her. Her friends miss her dearly at her local legion club; she was the life and soul of the club and always helped others.

“My mother and father were married for over 50 years and I was the eldest child and eight years later along came my sister. My mother was a doting grandmother and great-grandmother to her five grandchildren and eight great grandchildren; she enjoyed spending time with her family. She enjoyed going shopping and spoiling her family as much as she could. Telling the little children that their Nanny Rose had gone to heaven was very difficult and emotional for us as a family. We only worry that as they get older they’ll realise the full extent of what has occurred to their dear nanny.

“It was lunchtime on Tuesday, 15 May, when two police officers knocked on our door to give us the devastating news that my mum had been murdered. I was speechless, numb and in complete shock. I could not believe what the police officers were telling me; it did not seem real. Since that moment our lives have changed forever; we no longer have our dear mother in our lives as she has been taken so cruelly from someone she trusted.

“Our mum let someone she trusted into her home and he became like a family member to her over the years. This is what makes this so hard to understand and why as a family we question if there is anything we could have done?

“Since my mum’s passing we have had to adapt to our new way of living. We have had to deal with the police on a regular basis and other support agencies assisting us through our journey. This is not normal for us and is something we are still coming to terms with. It’s like everyone says, you read this in the paper but it doesn’t happen to your family. One of the worse things we have had to deal with is the invasion of our privacy; this has been hard as a family to cope with. We have felt like we have been in the unknown and have felt we have been in limbo. We didn’t know what we could do next as the process is lengthy and due to this we have been unable to grieve normally.

“It has affected our family emotionally and physically; since my mum passed away I have suffered ill-health and subsequently suffered a heart attack where I had to spend some time in hospital. I believe that the stress caused by my mum’s murder has contributed towards the decline in my physical health.

“One of the best stories I have of my mum is when she went to see a show with my wife and daughter in London. My wife explained that both her and my daughter went to the bathroom and when they came back, my mum was locked in a conversation with a gentleman who asked her out for dinner. This made our family laugh and is a memory we will treasure forever. This shows how friendly and funny she was that even a stranger would ask her out for dinner.

Rose’s granddaughter Samantha Green said: “My nan was taken away from us far too soon, she was the healthiest one of our family, the soul of the party and had a better social life than us all. Knowing that she is not here anymore is heart-breaking. Then to find out she has been murdered and unbelievably murdered by someone she knew and trusted! I’m never going to come to terms with it.

“Nan was always there for us, encouraging me to always do my best and get what I want out of life, to stand for what you believe in. She was always there to listen to me and have a great debate on a new topic, especially with my husband. Always spoiling our girls and giving them too much ice-cream and sweets after school, making them princess dresses and mermaid tails, anything they wanted.

“Grieving for my nan is hard but knowing the way it happened and not knowing what she must have been feeling and how scared she must have been… I have nightmares nearly every night, seeing her face and having the images burnt in my head of what looked hardly nothing like her, when having to identify her in the mortuary with my brother. Going over and over again, thinking if there was something I could have done.

“No words can express how I feel and what myself and my family are going through at this present time.”

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