The family of a young woman who was killed by her boyfriend almost two years ago have said they are still in shock and have been robbed of the joy of their lives by her killing.

Earlier this month 34-year-old Oisin Conroy, of St Joseph's Terrace, Boyle in Co Roscommon, was found not guilty by reason of insanity of the murder of 23-year-old Natalie McGuinness in Sligo in October 2015.

The court heard he believed he was "in the Matrix" and there was a struggle in his mind between the devil and Jesus.

He had tried to "skin himself alive" after strangling Ms McGuinness.

The court has been told he was suffering from chronic paranoid schizophrenia and was delusional at the time of the killing.

Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Damian Mohan said Conroy was no longer holding delusional beliefs but was only coming to terms with suffering from a long-term mental illness and had quite some way to go in his recovery.

He said Conroy had expressed extreme regret at what he had done and had suffered great difficulty in coming to terms with it.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt agreed to hear victim impact evidence from Ms McGuinness's family, even though there is no legal provision to allow such evidence to be heard when a person has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.

In her statement, Ms McGuinness' mother said their lives had stopped being normal on 28 October 2015. 

She said they were bruised and battered and would be forever scarred. She added they could no longer live ordinary lives and would never forget what had been inflicted on their daughter before her life was ended.  

She told the court the family were still in shock.

Catherine McGuinness described her daughter as a bubbly, caring girl who loved life and had a special way of communicating with children. 

She said she was innocent and saw the good in everyone and never believed she would come to any harm.  What had happened was "so surreal" and hard to take in, even after 19 months. 

She added it was gut-wrenching and heart-breaking.  

She also said the family had been robbed not only of their daughter and sister but of the joy of their lives. Life now had to be taken one hard step at a time she said.

Ms McGuinness' younger sister, Jodi, also gave a statement to the court. 

She said they had been 591 days without her but it felt like a lifetime. 

The court heard her sister's life had been taken by the person she trusted and loved so much. She said Natalie was innocent and naive and had trusted in doctors but had been proven wrong.

She added that Oisin Conroy's actions had affected hundreds of lives.

Mr Justice Hunt said he hoped the fact that the family had been able to give victim impact evidence would be of some consolation and some help to them in the future. 

He said it confirmed what the evidence had shown during the brief duration of the trial - that Natalie was a very kind, exceptional person. 

The victim impact evidence showed he said, how unnatural it was for parents and siblings to have to bear such a loss. He said he would like to add his condolences to the McGuinness family on their loss.

The judge committed Conroy to the Central Mental Hospital until further order.