Friday 22 September 2017

Neighbour's guilt in brutal murder is clear, court told

Karen Walsh at Belfast Crown Court yesterday
Karen Walsh at Belfast Crown Court yesterday
Maire Rankin

Deborah McAleese

THE guilt of a woman accused of beating her elderly neighbour to death could not be clearer, even with a video recording of the murder, a court has been told.

Prosecution barrister Liam McCollum told Belfast Crown Court yesterday that the evidence against pharmacist Karen Walsh, who is charged with murdering 81-year-old Newry grandmother Maire Rankin, was "crystal clear".

Mrs Rankin's naked and badly bruised body was found in the bedroom of her Dublin Road home on Christmas morning 2008.

Mrs Walsh has admitted calling into Mrs Rankin's home late on Christmas Eve where she sat in the frail pensioner's bedroom, drinking straight from a bottle of vodka.

The 45-year-old mother of one denies murder and claims that Mrs Rankin was "fine" when she left in the early hours of Christmas morning.

Summing up, Mr McCollum described Mrs Walsh's version of events as "bizarre" and "unbelievable".

He said that if the jury "could see a video recording of the murder it would not be any clearer".

Mr McCollum added that if Mrs Walsh's version of events were correct it meant that someone else entered Mrs Rankin's home in the early hours of that Christmas morning and killed her "for no apparent reason" without leaving any trace behind them.

Fanciful

"This is fanciful and unbelievable and not supported by the evidence. All the evidence points to the guilt of Mrs Walsh," he said.

Mrs Walsh's defence barrister Peter Irvine said, however, that the prosecution failed to prove the case against the defendant beyond all reasonable doubt.

Mr Irvine said Mrs Walsh "completely denied" being involved in any attack on Mrs Rankin and that there were "issues regarding the reliability of DNA evidence" allegedly linking her to the murder.

He added that Mrs Walsh was a woman of good character and that if the jury was not convinced of her guilt beyond all reasonable doubt then they must find her not guilty.

Judge Mr Justice Hart will today sum up his case for the jury before they are asked to retire to consider their verdict.

Irish Independent

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