Woman guilty of slurry pit killing
New-age traveller's death was not murder, jury finds
Published 08/04/2011 | 05:00
A WOMAN was yesterday convicted of killing a new-age traveller whose badly beaten body was recovered from a slurry pit four years ago.
Una Geaney (45) showed no emotion as a jury at the Central Criminal Court acquitted her of the murder of Gary Bull (37) in September 2007 but convicted her of his manslaughter.
The jury returned the verdict after almost seven hours of deliberations over three days.
Mr Justice Paul Carney was told that the jury of eight men and four women had reached the verdict on a 10-2 majority decision.
Geaney was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on June 7. She did not react as the verdict was returned and briefly smiled to friends and relatives before being led away by prison officers.
A native of Fermoy, Co Cork, but with an address at Mullinagleamig, Dingle, Co Kerry, Geaney had denied the murder of Mr Bull.
She insisted to arresting gardai that she had not dealt the fatal blows to Mr Bull's head with a wooden mallet.
Geaney claimed that Jason Thomas (40) -- aka 'Jay the Hat' -- struck Mr Bull repeatedly in the head after a row erupted on the third day of a drink-fuelled birthday party at her home at Shanlaragh, Dunmanway, Co Cork, on September 23, 2007.
Mr Bull had a premonition that he was going to be killed shortly before his death.
After the killing, Geaney told gardai that farmyard compost was used to cover up the pools of his blood -- and that compost was also put into the slurry pit to cover the parts of Mr Bull's body that were still exposed above the surface.
Mr Bull was a native of Hertfordshire in England but had been living in west Cork for a number of years as part of an extended new-age traveller community.
He had split up with his partner, Claire Freeman, one month before the incident after she had caught him having an affair.
The trial heard that he had arrived at the birthday party drunk and aggressive.
Mr Bull sought fights with several party-goers. When he began wielding a petrol-driven saw, he was struck in the face with a heavy piece of timber.
The trial heard that Mr Bull then wanted to leave but was unable to do so because the keys to his jeep had been taken from him.
At one point, Geaney was said to have put the keys in her bra.
All the party-goers, with the exception of Geaney, Thomas and Amanda McNabb (27), were then pushed into a bedroom. Ms Freeman later emerged to see Geaney and McNabb washing blood off the kitchen floor and walls.
When she inquired as to the fate of her former partner, she claimed that Geaney replied: "Where a bad man stands, a tree should be planted."
Another witness, Peter Donohoe, claimed that Geaney later told him she had split Mr Bull's head open with the mallet -- and that a dog had then licked his blood off her kitchen floor.
Thomas and McNabb have both already pleaded guilty to Mr Bull's manslaughter.
Geaney will be sentenced alongside Thomas and McNabb.
Two other individuals will also be sentenced after pleading guilty to withholding information.