Saturday 23 September 2017

Justice at last for Margot as killer gets life for 1994 murder

The remains of Margot Seery are disinterred from Rathkeale parish graveyard in Rathkeale, Co Limerick last September. Photo: courtesy RTÉ ‘Prime Time’
The remains of Margot Seery are disinterred from Rathkeale parish graveyard in Rathkeale, Co Limerick last September. Photo: courtesy RTÉ ‘Prime Time’
Margot Seery

Alison O'Riordan

A woman murdered more than 20 years ago has finally got justice after her killer was jailed for life, her family said.

Howard Kelly was sentenced yesterday, a year after he walked into a garda station and confessed to "strangling" the Dublin mother in a "completely unprovoked" attack.

Margot Seery (48) was found dead at her home in Kenilworth Square, Dublin 6, in October 1994. A post mortem found she died from asphyxia due to inhalation of vomit caused by alcohol.

However, her body was exhumed in September 2014 when Kelly walked into a garda station and confessed to the killing. He told gardaí "in a flash" he had "just flipped" and "had a rush of blood to the head".

"Something came over me and I felt compelled to take off my shirt and wrestle her to the ground, put my knees on her arms and strangled her to death," the killer told gardaí.

Kelly (41), who had an address at Osprey Apartments, Naas, Co Kildare, was jailed by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy in Dublin's Central Criminal Court.

In a victim impact statement, Ms Seery's daughter Niamh Holliday - who was 12 when her mother died - said she was relieved the truth had finally come out but "hate I had that anger towards her for so long and none of this was her fault."

"In the last year I have gone through so many emotions with this case, it was mainly anger as I shouldn't have had to believe a lie for 20 years. For that I am grateful to Howard Kelly for actually coming forward with his confession," she wrote.

State prosecutor Brendan Grehan SC told the court it was a "highly unusual case" as Ms Seery's death was not considered suspicious at the time.

When exhumed, Ms Seery's internal organs, and the hyoid bone from her throat, were missing, but her skull was intact and unopened, indicating the brain had not been examined at the original post mortem.

Five interview statements given by Kelly to gardaí were read to the court by Mr Grehan.

"He told gardaí he had been planning for a long time to come in to confess but he wanted to kill himself instead," said Det Insp McGreary.

In a second victim impact statement, Ms Seery's brother, Pa Guinane, said that for 20 years they believed "Margot caused her death", which upset her mother and family.

During the summer of 2014 their world was once again turned upside down with "shock and disbelief".

"She didn't deserve to die in this way," read Mr Grehan.

The court heard Kelly had been mentally ill since he was 13 years old and was first admitted to psychiatric care in March 1997. He had told a college friend he had killed a woman as well as admitting it to a nurse in a psychiatric hospital.

"We are glad the court case is over, that Margot has got justice and her name has been cleared," Mr Guinane said afterwards.

Irish Independent

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