Sunday 11 December 2016

Chilling image of burning body conjured up in cold-case trial

Abigail Rieley

Published 04/07/2010 | 05:00

A dark and disturbing vision of rural Westmeath almost a quarter of a century ago was conjured in the Central Criminal Court last week. A burning body, attempted suicide and mental illness all featured as the cold case was teased apart for the jury. There were lies, threats and racism as children testified against parents and wives against husbands.

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It was the third week of the trial of Vera McGrath and Colin Pinder. Both deny the murder of 61-year-old Ms McGrath's husband Brian on an unknown date in the spring of 1987. Pinder (47), from Liverpool, England, has admitted to the manslaughter of his former father-in-law in Lower Coole, Co Westmeath.

His ex-wife told the court how he had beaten Mr McGrath to death in a prolonged attack one night shortly before their wedding.

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