Tuesday 17 October 2017

'I choked her 'til she fell and said 'I'm dying',' accused told gardaí

Jade Maguire, daughter of murder accused Danny Keena and the victim, Brigid Maguire, leaves the Central Criminal Court in Dublin. Photo: Collins Courts
Jade Maguire, daughter of murder accused Danny Keena and the victim, Brigid Maguire, leaves the Central Criminal Court in Dublin. Photo: Collins Courts

Andrew Phelan

A father of two who strangled his partner to death told gardaí she fell to the floor of her bedroom saying "I'm dying" after he choked her against a wardrobe for 60 seconds.

Danny Keena (55) said he tried to revive Brigid Maguire (43) after her tongue turned blue and she started gurgling, but the "damage was done".

He had not meant to kill her and dropped to his knees, crying "Brigie, don't die", then left the house in a panic, he said.

Mr Keena said in Garda interviews that Ms Maguire told him he was "no good" as a father and he had accused her of seeing another man before she became violent and he choked her.

Memos of his Garda interviews were read out to the jury by prosecution barrister John Hayden SC at Mr Keena's trial.

Mr Keena, a farmer from Empor, Ballynacargy, Co Westmeath, denies the murder of Ms Maguire at her home at Main Street, Ballynacargy, on November 14, 2015.

Brigid Maguire
Brigid Maguire

Their daughter Jade found her mother.

The prosecution has not accepted Mr Keena's plea of guilty to manslaughter.

The Central Criminal Court heard Mr Keena told gardaí he and Ms Maguire had argued at her house that evening.

"She jumped up off the bed and came at me real violently," he said. She had her two hands out into his face and he put his hands out to block her, he said. His two hands were on her shoulders to push her back.

"That is when I flopped," he said. "I moved them onto her neck." He "had her up against the wardrobe, choking her for 60 seconds" before she fell down, he said. "Her tongue was all blue, she was fighting for her life at this stage." He said he stopped choking her when she fell. "I didn't mean to kill her at all, I didn't go there to kill that night," he told gardaí.

He said he slapped her as he thought she was "coming back".

"I got down on my knees and started crying. I said 'Don't die, Brigie, don't die'. I knew she was going." He said he felt her forehead going cold. "I knew I was after killing her, that is when I panicked," he said.

He closed the door, ran to his car and "drove home like a mad man", he said. He got a rope to hang himself and tried to drown himself in the River Inny before spending the night in a shed and handing himself in the next day, he said.

The court also heard Mr Keena had said weeks earlier that he would "run the car into" Ms Maguire if he met her on the road, his niece Mary Wallace Jnr told a jury.

Mary Wallace Snr, sister of the accused, gave evidence of another incident she said he told her about.

"Himself and Brigid had an argument I think and he said he'd choked her," Ms Wallace said.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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