Courts

Saturday 2 August 2014

Anonymous letter sent to dupe gardai, trial hears

Tom Shiel

Published 22/05/2014|02:30

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Anonymous letter sent to dupe gardai, trial told
Anonymous letter sent to dupe gardai, trial told

MURDER accused Martin Early dictated a letter to a female friend that was then posted to gardai in order to put them "off the scent" of whoever killed Sandra Collins, a court was told.

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Denise Maheady told the court that Mr Early was wearing pink household gloves and was carrying a notebook when he arrived at her flat in December 2010.

Ms Maheady was giving evidence on the 10th day of the trial in Castlebar of Martin Early (49), Banagher, Carrmowmore Lacken, Ballina, Co Mayo.

Mr Early denies murdering 29-year-old Sandra Collins, Courthouse Street, Killala, who was pregnant at the time she disappeared, on or about December 4, 2000 at a place unknown.

There is no murder scene and Sandra Collins's body has never been found.

Yesterday, Ms Maheady gave evidence of writing an anonymous letter to gardai at the behest of Mr Early in December 2010, which was 10 years after Ms Collins disappeared. The witness said she sealed the letter, which misleadingly pointed the finger at others as being responsible for Sandra's disappearance.

Ms Maheady said Mr Early afterwards went to the sink in her flat where he burnt an original letter he had brought with him.

However, she kept a notepad which Mr Early had brought with him and hid it in a duvet cover.

Cross-examined by counsel Micheal O'Higgins, defending, Ms Maheady denied telling "a tissue of lies" in the matter.

She agreed that she had been granted immunity from the DPP from prosecution for her involvement in the letter. The trial is continuing at the Central Criminal Court in Castlebar.

Irish Independent

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