Wednesday 20 September 2017

Man (22) charged with murder of mum Sara Staunton

Ray Gralton, arriving at a spacial sitting of Ballina District Court, Ballina, Co. Mayo. Photo: James Connolly/ PicSell8
Ray Gralton, arriving at a spacial sitting of Ballina District Court, Ballina, Co. Mayo. Photo: James Connolly/ PicSell8
Sara Staunton

Tom Shiel

A 22-year-old man appeared at a special court sitting yesterday charged with the murder of 28-year-old Sara Staunton at her home near Balla, Co Mayo, over the weekend.

Ray Gralton, with an address at Mount Prospect, Co Roscommon, made a brief appearance before Judge Mary Devins at a special sitting of Ballina District Court.

Evidence

Detective Sergeant Gary Walsh gave evidence of arresting the accused at 10am yesterday at Castlebar Garda Station.

Gralton made no reply to the charge of murder after caution, the Detective Sergeant stated.

Garda Supt Pat Diskin told the court his application was for remand in custody to Harristown Court on Friday at 10.30am.

Solicitor Gary Mulchrone said that free legal aid would be applied for in respect of the defendant in due course.

Mr Mulchrone also requested that Gralton receive appropriate medical attention in prison.

The solicitor said that a doctor visited the accused on Sunday and prescribed painkillers for a pre-existing injury.

Judge Devins said that the request was a matter for the prison governor to deal with.

The defendant stood with his hands behind his back during the short hearing.

He showed no emotion during the proceedings before being led away to start his journey in an unmarked Garda car to Castlerea Prison.

A man believed to be the father of the accused was in court for yesterday’s hearing. A murder investigation was launched by gardai on Sunday afternoon after a post-mortem examination at Mayo General Hospital showed that mother of two Sara Staunton had been physically assaulted before her death.

Gralton’s arrest in the Castlebar area on Saturday followed the discovery of the victim’s body in the bungalow where she lived at Portagh, Mayo Abbey.

It is understood the dead woman’s children – a boy (12) and a 10-year-old girl – were not with her at the time of the incidents which led to her death.

They were in the care of their father at the time, Ms Staunton’s former partner.

hnews@herald.ie

Irish Independent

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