Monday 20 May 2019

'I'd get the insurance money, the lot, everything'

Years before her husband was shot, Catherine Nevin made repeated efforts to have him murdered

William McClean
William McClean
Gerard Heapes
John Jones

Ken Foy

The detailed garda investigation that followed Catherine Nevin's husband's murder established that she had attempted to solicit at least three men to murder Tom in the years before he was shot dead. All three gave evidence against her.

One was convicted fraudster William McClean from Ballinode, Co Monaghan who had a sexual affair with Catherine Nevin in the mid 1980s.

This affair ended in 1986 and McClean's next contact with the 'Black Widow' was in 1990 when he said that she told him she wanted a "job done" on her husband, and that they weren't getting on.

She mentioned paying around IR£20,000, he claimed. When he asked her why she wanted her husband killed, he said that she replied: "I'd get the insurance money, the lot, everything."

McClean later told gardaí and then the Central Criminal Court that he told her "no f**king way" and walked out of the room.

Another man that Nevin approached to kill her husband was former IRA man Gerard Heapes who she first met at a Sinn Féin office in Finglas, north Dublin, in 1985. Heapes - a convicted armed robber and alleged garda informer - later revealed that she approached him on at least 10 occasions about killing her husband, and that he went on hearing her crazed propositions because he was curious and intrigued by the whole thing.

He had not seen Catherine Nevin for several years when she called out of the blue to his local pub in Finglas around 1990, claiming to have been beaten up by Tom Nevin. "Then she came and dropped the bombshell. She wanted to know would I kill her husband," he explained.

Heapes also acknowledged that at one stage he went to Jack White's Inn with a criminal colleague to try to con money out of Nevin over her proposition to shoot her husband. He felt he would get money from her because she wouldn't be able to go to the gardaí.

Another man that Catherine approached to murder her husband was John Jones, a Finglas-based TV salesman who was running a Sinn Féin advice clinic from the bottom floor of his premises during the 1980s.

Jones revealed he first came across Nevin in 1985 when she came to the advice centre and inquired about buying a pub in the area.

He pointed out that she later leased the Barry House pub with her husband, and they allowed Sinn Féin members to fundraise and sell copies of An Phoblacht in the bar.

He said he was first solicited by Nevin to kill her husband in 1989. He said she told him: "I have a proposition for you. I want you to get the IRA to shoot Tom."

Jones from Balbriggan, Co Dublin said she asked him to get the IRA to murder her husband and make the killing look like a botched hold-up on at least five or six occasions over the course of the next year.

He claimed that he told her that Sinn Féin was not into that type of thing and reported the approach to more senior members of the organisation.

While Catherine hunted for a contract killer to whack her husband, she continued to court high society including a judge and senior gardaí while running Jack White's. At her murder trial in 2000, allegations of affairs that Nevin was allegedly involved in with a senior district court judge and garda inspector emerged.

In the case of Garda Inspector Tom Kennedy it was alleged by a waitress at Jack White' s Inn - Caroline Strahan - that she had seen Kennedy in bed with Catherine "a few times" from 1991 onwards. This was completely denied by the garda.

In his statement to gardaí, Tom Kennedy described himself as a friend of Tom Nevin. He said he knew Tom for a number of years, and that this was his reason for going to Jack White's. Mr Kennedy's retirement party had been held at the pub in 1994.

He described Catherine Nevin as the type of person who would "give you a pain in the head when she started getting on about things". He said that he was aware of stories going around that he was having a sexual relationship with Catherine, but that this was not true.

He said he was over 60 years of age and that sex would not be a concern of his. "I am not into that," he added. "I value my family and my marriage."

Nevin also denied having an affair with the former senior garda, but she accepted that she had met him a number of times away from Jack White's, but denied that they had stayed at a hotel in Ballinaboola, Co Wexford together. While Inspector Kennedy described himself as a friend of Tom Nevin's and a regular in his pub - these factors led to resentment among other gardaí in the area.

'Irregular sexual relationship'

This is because since moving to the area in 1986, Catherine had made a number of false allegations against other local gardaí, including that in August 1991 a garda indecently assaulted a 17-year-old barmaid who was working in the pub as well as a false claim that a garda had demanded money with menaces from her.

And four gardaí gave evidence that they ­regularly spotted Kennedy's silver-coloured ­Renault car parked outside the pub during the night.

During the detailed investigation, it emerged that Kennedy was the man who introduced Judge Donnchadh O Buachalla to Catherine Nevin.

Judge O Buachalla denied he had an "irregular sexual relationship" with Catherine. He also denied having a key to Jack White's pub. Two former bar workers both gave evidence stating that he did have a key.

In his statement to gardaí, Judge O Buachalla said: "I had an excellent relationship with both the late Tom and his wife Catherine. They were both very hospitable.

"I never stayed overnight and I never had any occasion to have a key to any part of the premises," the judge added.

Like in Tom Kennedy's case, Catherine Nevin also denied ever having an affair with the judge.

In December 2000 - eight months after Catherine Nevin was convicted of murdering her husband Tom - a public inquiry found that Judge O Buachalla had acted without bias but had made errors of judgment concerning his handling of the licensing of Catherine Nevin's pub - a year after Tom was murdered.

This is an extract from Ken Foy's book, CSI: Crime Scene Ireland

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