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The dream for the people of Colwyn Bay was the Restoration of the Pier. This was a beacon of hope for the town, but now with it's destruction looming, its demolition goes against the public's wishes. This town has nothing left to give, or fight for. It's just another example of another loss to a once Loved town who's glory years have long since faded.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Colwyn bay - Following the brutal murder of Antoni Robinson his daughters speak out.
Following the brutal murder of Antoni Robinson, his eldest girls ask: how could our sisters kill dad?
Amanda and Claire Robinson doted on their little sisters. They took them for days out, wiped away their tears and giggled about boys as they got older.
But now their memories of Ashleigh and Hollie as sweet, happy and loving girls are gone for ever – replaced by an image of the callous killers who took the life of their beloved dad.
Last week, a judge branded Ashleigh, 19, and 16-year-old Hollie the “Judas sisters” for their evil plot to kill their 61-year-old father Antoni as he lay asleep in his bed.
They were jailed for a total of 40 years for their part in the murder of the retired antiques dealer, who was stabbed 15 times in a frenzied attack.
Now the months of torment Antoni endured at the hands of his two youngest daughters – greedy for his home, money and jewellery – can finally be revealed.
Speaking exclusively to the Daily Mirror, their half-sisters Amanda and Claire – Antoni’s daughters from his first marriage – tell how a once-loving family has ended up at the centre of a savage murder.
Amanda, 41, says: “To think that Dad’s daughters – our own flesh and blood, our sisters – could kill him makes me sick to my stomach.
“Dad adored Ashleigh and Hollie. He never once said a bad word against them. How could they hate him so much? How did Dad create such monsters?
“I hope and pray that he did not see their faces as he lay there dying. If my dad had lived through that ordeal, he would have forgiven them. That’s the kind of dad he was.” Claire, 35, adds: “I want to know, was Dad awake when he was attacked?
“Did he defend himself? Did he see his daughters there?
“But there’s no point in asking because my sisters lied all through the trial. I can’t even begin to think about forgiving them until I hear the truth.
“I don’t hate Ashleigh and Hollie. I feel sorry for them because somewhere down the line the reality will hit them and they’ll know what a loving and caring dad we all had.”
Claire has “a million” questions about what happened, but she has vowed never to write to, visit or phone Ashleigh or Hollie in prison.
Yet things were very different when their dad met Joanne Barr, a few years after his first marriage ended in 1979, and started a new family.
Amanda and Claire, who both live in Farnborough, Hants, were supportive of Antoni’s new relationship – even though Joanne is only three years older than Amanda. Out of love and respect for their father, they hid their reservations and their growing dislike of Joanne. Full-time mum Amanda, who has an eight-year-old daughter, Emily, says: “At first, Joanne was lovely. But when she had her own kids, Ashleigh and Hollie, she changed towards us.
“She was jealous of Dad’s first family. She was a possessive control freak and wouldn’t let us near him.
“Although I never liked her, she and Dad never knew that, I buried my feelings because Dad would have been devastated. Family was the most important thing to him.
“He was overjoyed when Ashleigh and Hollie were born. He would do anything for them – always cleaning their shoes and making their dinner. He loved looking after them.
“He was so proud of them, particularly Ashleigh. She was so clever, gaining nine A-grade GCSEs. She was the apple of Dad’s eye. If he was disappointed when she got pregnant at 18 instead of going to university, he never let on.” After 25 years together, Antoni and Joanne split up. Ashleigh and Hollie sided with their mum, who moved out of the three-bedroom bungalow in Colwyn Bay, Conwy, which Antoni had built for his first wife. It sparked a massive fall-out. And eight months of furious rows over money, jewellery and property ended in Antoni’s violent death.
Amanda recalls: “There were so many horrible arguments that Dad had a nervous breakdown and stayed with me for two weeks. Claire and I tried to get him back on his feet again.
“While he was staying with me, Dad’s sister phoned to say there was washing out on his line. Ashleigh had moved in while he was away.”
Ashleigh and her boyfriend Gordon Harding, 20, were in the house with their seven-month-old daughter. And after refusing to speak to her dad for six months, Hollie also wormed her way back there. Antoni was thrilled to have his little girls home again. But they secretly photocopied his bank statements to aid Joanne’s legal fight to win the house.
Looking back, Claire and Amanda believe the pair had plotted for months to get their hands on his assets.
Amanda says: “When Dad was staying with me, the girls treated the house like their own pad and didn’t want him back. They talked to him like an idiot and made him feel like a lodger in his own home.
“I hated hearing how they treated him, how they spoke to him. But I thought they were just being normal teenagers and hoped they’d grow out of it. I didn’t imagine they had that kind of hatred for him.
“Everything was relayed back to their mother. They were determined to get into his safe, which had bits of jewellery of sentimental value, and £900 cash. Ashleigh sent a text to her mother saying: ‘There is cold hard cash in the safe. I’m going in tonight’.
“The day before Dad died, he’d had a huge row with Ashleigh. She had demanded £500 for intensive driving lessons, but Dad said he’d pay for weekly lessons instead.
“She was furious. He phoned me that night to say Ashleigh had been hateful towards him. It was a shock – Dad had never used a word like that about the girls before.
“What hurt him was that he’d spent the whole day working hard in the garden, but Ashleigh had made herself a sandwich and not offered him one. Something like that would have really hurt such a kind, selfless man like my dad.”
On July 7, 2010, Ashleigh, Harding, Hollie and her boyfriend Sacha Roberts, 19, crept into Antoni’s room at 1am. Harding stabbed Antoni to death with a kitchen knife and seven-inch commando-style knife as the others watched.
Then Ashleigh sent her mother this text: “Things happened, he is no more. Sorry mum. Xxxx.”
On hearing of their dad’s brutal murder Amanda burst into tears and Claire fainted. They were even more horrified when, two days later, Ashleigh was arrested on suspicion of murder then Hollie was arrested soon afterwards.
Claire, who is mum to six-year-old son, Drew, says: “I kept thinking they will realise this has all been a mistake, a terrible tragedy. I just sobbed, ‘I know those girls, they wouldn’t do this, I helped to bring them up’.”
Amanda adds: “As the possibility started to sink in, I just asked myself why they would possibly kill him, and how they could leave their dad lying on the bed in a pool of his own blood. I’m so glad the last time I saw Dad, the day before he was killed, we had a huge hug and both said, ‘I love you’.”
At Mold crown court last week, Judge Griffith Williams condemned Ashleigh and Hollie as “Judas-like” after they “supported and encouraged” their boyfriends to murder their father.
Joanne Barr was sentenced to four years for lying to the police.
In court, Claire and Amanda hoped they’d see some signs of remorse.
“But there was not a flicker of regret,” says Amanda. “They didn’t cry for Dad, just for themselves. They were so calm in their police interviews. I couldn’t even get dressed for days after I heard, yet there they were coolly lying.
“During Dad’s breakdown he asked me to look after Ashleigh and Hollie if anything ever happened to him. I wonder if he minds that I was a witness against them? And now they’re in jail, I can’t keep my promise to look after them.
“I feel like I am in a horror movie and want to shout ‘cut’. Because true life is too horrible to comprehend.”
Claire says: “I have to keep reminding myself that I’m never going to hear Dad’s voice again or hold his hand.
“Bit by bit we are trying to come to terms with two realities – that our dad is dead and our sisters murdered him.
“It will haunt our family for years. It will affect generation after generation. Most of all, we just miss him so much.”