Wednesday 26 July 2017

I'm innocent, says extradited wife over husband's 1988 killing

Tom Tuite

A woman extradited from the UK to face a charge in connection with the death of her husband 25 years ago told gardai she was innocent.

The 59-year-old wept in court when she was charged with assault with intent to murder her former husband who died after he was attacked in his south Dublin home in 1988.

Father-of-two Christopher Payne was attacked at 82 Rutland Grove, Crumlin, on May 13, 1988, by a group of men armed with a hatchet.

Mr Payne, who also suffered from a chronic kidney ailment, was treated in hospital for serious head injuries sustained in the assault but never recovered; he died six months later, aged 38.

Yesterday following her extradition from England, Philomena Coton appeared at Dublin District Court. "I'm innocent," she told gardai.

Det Sgt Daniel Kelly of Sundrive Road station told Judge Victor Blake that he arrested her on foot of a warrant at 9.10pm at Dublin Airport on Thursday. She was brought to Sundrive Road station, where she was charged.

She is accused of assault with intent to murder Christopher Payne, and causing grievous bodily harm – charges she denies.

Dressed in a black coat, black trousers and a green top, she remained seated and wept throughout the proceedings.


State solicitor Vincent Maloney told Judge Blake that the DPP has directed that Mrs Coton should be tried on indictment.

He also said "it is a very old case" and it could take some time before the book of evidence was completed. Det Sgt Kelly applied for a one-week remand in custody.

Defence solicitor Ann Brizzell asked for the State to explain why the District Court did not have jurisdiction to grant bail on the charges. The defence lawyer also told Judge Blake that a co-accused had been granted bail in the District Court previously.

Judge Blake remanded Mrs Coton, who did not address the court, in custody to appear again next Wednesday when the State is to set out its reasons why the District Court should not decide on the issue of bail.

Mrs Coton, who had been living in Stoke Aldermoor, Coventry, is the second person to face charges following a review of the investigation by the garda cold-case unit.

In December 2011, the couple's daughter 40-year-old Sharon Cullen, who now lives in Ballyjamesduff in Co Cavan, had also been charged with assault with intent to murder Christopher Payne, and assaulting him causing grievous bodily harm.

She has brought a High Court challenge aimed at halting her trial and contends she cannot get a fair trial due to the delay in prosecuting her.

In 1989, two youths were jailed for their role in the attack.

Irish Independent

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