Wednesday 24 May 2017

Murdered woman's daughter settles case over family home

Civil action halted after 'intense' negotiations

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

MURDER victim Meg Walsh's daughter and husband have settled a legal wrangle over a share of the family home.

John O'Brien (45), the bus driver acquitted of killing his 35-year-old wife, reached a settlement at the weekend in the civil action taken by Ms Walsh's daughter, Sasha Keating (21).

The settlement came days after the pair faced each other in Waterford Circuit Civil Court, where sensitive details of the married couple's relationship were laid bare.

Mr O'Brien became sole owner of their family home after her death, while a life insurance policy in her name cleared the outstanding mortgage.

But Ms Keating launched the high-profile civil action to secure a portion of her mother's estate.

Last night, both Ms Keating and her uncle, James Walsh, refused to comment, while Mr O'Brien could not be contacted for comment.

However, legal sources indicated that a settlement was reached following intensive negotiations last Thursday and Friday.

It is understood that Ms Keating will now receive either a share in the property or a monetary equivalent.

The settlement will be announced before Judge Oliver Buttimer at the Circuit Civil Court sitting in Carlow tomorrow.

Ms Walsh -- whose body was recovered from the River Suir on October 15, 2006 -- died without making a will, meaning her daughter received no share of her main assets.

But Ms Keating, who is Meg's daughter by a previous relationship, had claimed a one-third share of the home at 19 Dunvarra, Ballinakill Downs, Waterford, that her mother shared with Mr O'Brien.

The action was outlined before the Circuit Civil Court in Dungarvan last Thursday and was defended by Mr O'Brien.

Disappeared

Ms Walsh disappeared in October 2006 just seven days after she started legal moves to secure her husband's share of the family home.

He had previously subjected her to a violent assault, the court was told, and an agreement was reached where Mr O'Brien would sign over his half of the house in return for her not making a formal complaint to gardai.

It was alleged that Mr O'Brien had punched his wife, dragged her by the hair, locked her in the house, taken away her mobile phone and threatened her life.

He allegedly agreed to sign over his share in their home which had been purchased in 2002 for €223,000.

This was contested by Mr O'Brien.

Irish Independent

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