Courts

Monday 28 July 2014

Murder accused got 37 calls from former lover, court hears

Ann Healy

Published 25/01/2013|05:00

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A WOMAN who denies murdering her former lover by stabbing him 18 times with a kitchen knife received 37 phone calls from him in the hours before his death.

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Maura Thornton (31), a native of Inverin, Connemara, denies the murder of US national Kevin Joyce (59) at a rented apartment at Upper Salthill, Galway, on July 31, 2011.

Detective Garda Peter Conlon told the Central Criminal Court sitting in Galway that Ms Thornton answered six of the 37 calls and the rest went to her voicemail.

He said the accused received a total of 120 phone calls in the 24-hour period from midnight on the Saturday and made 55 calls on her phone during the same period.

Mr Joyce, he said, had also phoned Ms Thornton's mother's phone nine times that Sunday afternoon. The last call was recorded at 8.40pm – an hour-and-a-half before he died.

Alcohol

Prosecutor Paul Greene told the jury that a blood sample from Ms Thornton after her arrest that Sunday night showed a reading of 357mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The current limit for driving is 50mg.

The court heard on Wednesday from Deputy State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar that Mr Joyce had dangerous levels of "acute intoxication" at the time of death as a blood sample taken during the post-mortem showed a reading of 328mg of alcohol.

"He was almost six times over the legal limit for driving," the pathologist said.

The primary cause of death, he said, was the multiple stab wounds, (two of which punctured a lung and pulmonary artery), while contributing factors were a broken left arm and acute intoxication.

Det Sgt Tom Molloy gave evidence about a series of public-order-type incidents involving Ms Thornton and Mr Joyce when their relationship ended earlier that summer.

While Mr Joyce had caused disturbances on a number of occasion around the city while the accused was in the company of other men, no formal complaint had ever been made to gardai about him.

Blaise O'Carroll, defending, said that on the day before Mr Joyce died he had damaged a small kitchen window in Ms Thornton's apartment and had taken €54 from the windowsill.

Closing the prosecution case yesterday, Mr Greene said there was a thread running through the trial that was suggestive of intoxication on both sides.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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