Murder accused 'could not kill victim', trial told
Published 02/04/2011 | 05:00
Una Geaney: denies the murder of Gary Bull
A WOMAN accused of murdering a new age Traveller has said she feared his head would "explode" if she struck him with a wooden mallet.
Una Geaney (45) insisted to investigating gardai she had not struck Gary Bull (37) on the head with the mallet because his face was already badly deformed from an earlier blow.
"I couldn't do it," she told detectives.
"His head was all deformed -- I could picture it exploding.
"All his face was deformed. He reminded me of the film 'The Elephant Man'."
She insisted another man -- Jason Thomas, or 'Jay the Hat' -- had struck Mr Bull four or five times in the head with the heavy mallet.
The Central Criminal Court in Cork yesterday also heard that Mr Bull had a premonition that he was going to be killed shortly before his death.
Ms Geaney said she heard the "crack" of the mallet repeatedly hitting Mr Bull's skull, and admitted it was "horrible".
After the killing, she told gardai that farmyard compost was used to cover up the pools of blood, and that compost was also put into the slurry pit where Mr Bull's body was dumped to cover anything left exposed above the surface.
Ms Geaney of Mullinagleamig, Dingle, Co Kerry, denies killing Mr Bull at Shanlaragh, Dunmanway, Co Cork, on or around September 23, 2007.
Mr Bull was from Hertfordshire in the UK but had been living in west Cork for a number of years as part of an extended new age Traveller community.
When gardai recovered Mr Bull's body from a slurry pit in October 2007, a post-mortem examination revealed he had died from multiple skull fractures.
It is the State's case that Mr Bull was beaten to death with a mallet after a row at a three-day alcohol-fuelled birthday party at Ms Geaney's home.
Yesterday, Mr Justice Paul Carney and the jury of eight men and four women heard details of statements Ms Geaney made to gardai on October 13 and 14, 2007, after her arrest.
Gardai arrested eight people in connection with the killing, and three have faced charges.
The trial heard that Jason Thomas (38) of Exeter, England and Amanda McNabb (25) of Mullinagleamig, Co Kerry, have both pleaded guilty to Mr Bull's manslaughter.
Mr Bull's ex-partner, Claire Freeman, has also pleaded guilty to withholding information from a garda investigation.
Sgt Michael Lyons said Ms Geaney repeatedly denied during interviews that she had ever struck Mr Bull in the head with the mallet.
But she admitted striking the first blow that connected with his left hip.
"'Jay the Hat' handed me the mallet and said: 'Hit Gary'.
"So I hit him on the leg. (Then) 'Jay the Hat' took the mallet and just starting hitting him with it," she told gardai.
"I remember seeing 'Jay the Hat' leaning over him and smacking him and smacking him."
"I could hear the 'crack' of the mallet hitting what I presumed was Gary. I said: 'Is he dead?' But he (Jay) didn't answer. I asked again was he dead. He said 'Yes'."
She claimed 'Jay the Hat' then told her and Ms McNabb to pour a bucket of lime over Mr Bull's remains, which had been dumped into the slurry pit.
"I could not hit him on the head with the mallet," she said.
The trial resumes on Tuesday.