Wednesday 26 October 2016

Former soldier had scratches on hands on night woman died, murder trial hears

Niamh O’ Donoghue

Published 17/07/2015 | 19:31

JImmy Devaney
Pic: Courtpix
JImmy Devaney Pic: Courtpix

The trial of a retired member of the defence forces accused of murdering a woman in Co.Westmeath has heard evidence that he had bloodshot eyes and scratches on his hands on the night in question.

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Jimmy Devaney (66) of Millbrook Avenue, Monksland, Athlone has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Marie Greene in Westmeath on February 13, 2011.

The court has heard that Ms Greene, who was working as a prostitute, was last seen alive on the evening of the 13th of February and her body was found in a bog near Ballykieran outside Athlone nine days later.

It has also heard that the accused was playing cards in the Lighthouse Casino in Custume Place in the town that night and was the first to sign in to avail of an ‘earlybird chip’ before leaving and returning later that evening.

Fergus Joseph Kenny gave evidence that he ran the tournaments in the casino and said the manager would be in at 7.30 with him arriving around 8 o’ clock.

When asked what time Mr Devaney came back to the casino that night he replied : “I cant be exactly sure but around 9”.

Fergus Joe Kenny
Pic: Courtpix
Fergus Joe Kenny Pic: Courtpix

“Jimmy came in and sat at seat 8…he was flustered at the time, I assumed at the time he was flustered because he was late,” said Mr Kenny.

He told Alex Owens SC prosecuting there were cuts on Mr Devaney’s knuckles and his shirt was torn on his right hand.

Mr Kenny testified that he asked the accused what happened to his hand.

“He replied by saying ‘I had to give a lad a tow’,” Mr Kenny told the court.

He said Mr Devaney told him he got the scratches because he fell in a ditch when he was getting out of the car.

Mr Kenny told the court Mr Devaney was getting very agitated and very aggressive.

He said the card dealer noticed his eye was bloodshot before the other people present saw that also.

He told the court Mr Devaney made it to the final table and finished 6th or 7th that night.

Ray Murphy gave evidence he was present at the poker game in the Lighthouse Casino at 8.15pm and tournament started at 9 o clock.

He said Mr Devaney arrived in at 9 o’ clock and there was a comment made about his shirt being torn and blood on his sleeve.

He said he spoke to the accused at the break noticing his eyes were bloodshot and he told him it happened at football that day.

There was a spot of blood on his shirt and he tried to wipe it off, Mr Murphy told the court.

He agreed with Giollaiosa O’ Lideadha SC defending under cross-examination that in his statement he told gardai it would not be normal for the accused to be late.

He said the accused told him he was late because he was pulling someone out of the ditch and one of the men told him to lighten up as he was reacting badly.

Mr Murphy also agreed he mentioned about the right sleeve being torn and said that it would not be like the accused to be dressed like that.

He said he had known Mr Devaney for 40 years and knew him as a family man who was kind to his children and grandchildren.

He further agreed he was involved in helping people in public and in private when other people were not around to help.

Sergejs Cvetkovs gave evidence he worked in The Lighthouse Casino and said that Mr Devaney came in and paid 50 euro for the tournament, signed the book and left.

He told the court Mr Devaney came back at 9.15pm or 9.20pm and  the men in the tournament were asking about his eye.

He agreed with Mr O’ Lideadha under cross-examination that he said in his statement to Gardai that Mr Devaney was a good player and he came in early to the club to get the early chip.

The prosecution alleges that Mr Devaney stabbed Ms Greene six times and that he murdered her because she was blackmailing him that she would tell his wife he was a client.

The trial is now entering legal argument and continues on Tuesday before a jury of six men and six women presided over by Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan.

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