Brother and sister facing life in jail for horror killing
Published 18/11/2015 | 02:30
A brother and sister are facing life in prison after they were found guilty of "torturing" and murdering an elderly man in Dublin city.
Sabrina Cummins (37) of Ringsend Park, Dublin 4 pleaded not guilty to murdering "mentally challenged" 63-year-old Thomas Horan on January 6 last year.
Yesterday a jury of six men and six women found Sabrina Cummins guilty of the murder at Cambridge Court, Ringsend by unanimous verdict at the Central Criminal Court.
Her brother Kenneth Cummins (28) changed his plea to guilty, four weeks in to the trial.
The court heard Mr Horan was force-fed cleaning fluid, had a rope placed around his neck, a bag over his head and he was "severely beaten".
Prosecution counsel Mr Remy Farrell SC said that the man, who had special needs, was subjected to a "protracted torturing and killing".
State Pathologist Professor Marie Therese Cassidy gave evidence that the deceased died as a result of asphyxia. Mr Horan had a fractured cheekbone and 14 fractured ribs.
"The area above the adam's apple had an area of reddening. It had the appearance of a burn or chemical burn," she added in evidence. "Something like white spirits could have caused this."
The court heard that a woman who called herself Joanna called 999 saying she had found the body of her friend.
Garda Ciaran Sweeney also gave evidence that he was on patrol on the morning in question when, at 5am, he was dispatched to the area of the alleged murder. Gda Sweeney said that he noticed a couple sitting on the wall outside the Old Presbytery on Cambridge Road.
A woman who he identified in court as the accused, Sabrina Cummins, approached Gda Sweeney and identified herself as the 999 caller. She claimed that she was on her way home when she saw the victim's body through the window. This was "absolutely impossible", Gda Sweeney told the court.
During the trial it was given in evidence that a number of fingerprints were found in the home of the deceased which were attributed to the accused.
Mr Horan's brother-in-law Mr Jim Muldoon told the court that the deceased was "mentally challenged" and "an easy touch".
Mr Justice Tony Hunt said it was "abundantly clear" from the medical evidence that Mr Horan met a horrific death as well as there being the input of more than one person in this event.
He told the jury he "thoroughly agreed" with the verdict.
The brother and sister will be sentenced on Friday.