Thursday 21 September 2017

Oliver Kierans (57) who shot his wife dead found guilty of her manslaughter

Oliver Kierans
Oliver Kierans
Patricia Kierans with Oliver Kierans

Anne Sharkey

A Cavan man has been found not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of his wife, who was shot in the chest at close range with a shotgun.

Oliver Kierans (57) of Drumbannon, Bailieborough in Cavan had pleaded not guilty to murdering Patricia Kierans (54) on September 5, 2013 at the same address.

He pleaded not guilty to unlawful possession of a 12-gauge double-barrel shotgun but was found guilty on that charge earlier this week by the jury.

He was found guilty yesterday of the possession of the same gun with intent to endanger life by a majority verdict of 11 to one.

After more than 15-hours deliberation, the jury of five women and seven men returned with a majority verdict of not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter by 10 to two.

The two-and-a-half-week trial heard that Patricia Kierans, who had been married to Oliver Kierans for more than 33 years, had moved out of the family home in June 2013.

The Central Criminal Court heard that she had moved in with her sister and had started a relationship with another individual.

The jury were told that this did not sit well with the accused who had recently begun drinking again after abstaining for the summer.

The court heard that out of the Kierans' four children, three have moved to Australia along with six of their 10 grandchildren.

In his testimony last week, Oliver Kierans described a "fixation" Patricia had that he was having an affair.

When questioned about shortening the barrels of a shotgun by defending counsel Anthony Sammon, the accused said that the reason he did that was because his only child who had remained in Ireland was moving to Australia.

Asked by prosecuting counsel Michael O'Higgins if he had been jealous by the thought of Patricia with someone else, he replied "no".

"They were all gone and I just wanted to end my life," said Kierans.

On September 5, 2013 the court heard that Mr and Mrs Kierans had gone to the family home together.

The accused told gardaí in interviews that he brought his wife to a second-floor bedroom to show her he was going to "do away" with himself.

During his testimony, Kierans described how he lifted the gun and "the yoke hit the top of my hand".

The court heard that Patricia Kierans was shot with a shotgun at quite close range, sustaining a very serious wound to her chest, from which she died.

Garda Adrian O'Hanlon of Virginia Garda Station gave evidence that he was directed to go to the Kierans family home where he found the body of Patricia Kierans in a bedroom with a cot and dolls in it. He confirmed they found no pulse.

It was the State's case that afterwards, Oliver Kierans went to The Square bar in Bailieborough where a "siege" took place and he was found by gardaí with a sawn-off shot gun.

Throughout the two-and-a-half-week trial, the jury were shown CCTV footage in which a man identified as Oliver Kierans is seen pointing a double-barrel shotgun at a man identified as Garda Tommy Fay.

State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy found the cause of death was a shotgun injury to the chest; the shot could have fired from a distance of 1.2 metres or 4 feet, and death would have been almost immediate.

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly remanded Kierans in custody for sentencing next month.

Irish Independent

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