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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Man who killed wife in front of children loses murder appeal

Aodhan O'Faolain

Published 26/01/2013 | 05:00

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A MAN convicted of brutally murdering his wife in front of their three children has lost an appeal against his conviction.

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The Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA) has dismissed David Bourke's claim that his conviction for the murder of his wife Jean Gilbert in August 2007 was unsafe.

In March 2009, Bourke (52) was sentenced to life imprisonment after a Central Criminal Court jury found him guilty of the murder of Ms Gilbert (46).

It happened during a confrontation over Ms Gilbert's infidelity at their home at Laverna Dale, Castleknock, Dublin 15.

During the original trial, the court heard evidence from the children who witnessed their father stab their mother.

One of the children, who was just 10 at the time, was in her pyjamas in the living-room with her two siblings and mother.

"My dad came in. He was talking aggressively like you do when you're cross," she said.

Knife

"He stepped toward her [Ms Gilbert]. He had a knife. I saw the knife when my dad pushed mum over. She was pushed over the chair on her back. She tried to grab my dad's hand to stop him. He was trying to stab her."

The court heard that the girl saw her mother "going pale".

"My mum and dad were fighting. My mum had a boyfriend."

The former insurance administrator had denied murder but admitted he stabbed his wife under severe provocation because she was going to leave him for another man.

The main grounds of Bourke's appeal included that the trial judge – Mr Justice White – gave a material misdirection to the jury on the law regarding the defence of provocation.

This had the effect of making his conviction unsafe, it was claimed.

The DPP had opposed the appeal and argued that the conviction was safe.

The CCA rejected the argument made on Bourke's behalf and dismissed the appeal. The conviction was "safe and should not be interfered with," it said.

Giving the court's decision, Mr Justice MacMenamin said the trial judge's summary to the jury in relation to the defence of provocation was "in accordance with the authorities".

The summary "was applied to a succinct but entirely fair summation of the main points of both the prosecution and defence cases," the judge added.

Irish Independent

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