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Black Widow Nevin 'will never name hitman who shot husband'

A Leading criminal profiler believes social-climbing killer Catherine Nevin will never give up the hitman who killed her husband.

The Kildare widow has been behind bars since 2000 for paying a hitman to murder her publican husband Tom Nevin in their home in Jack White's bar in Wicklow on March 19, 1996.

While the 60-year-old has served more than a decade behind bars, the mystery man who pulled the trigger has never been identified by the woman dubbed 'The Black Widow'.

But in TV3's 24 Hours to Kill, Britain's top profiler, Professor David Wilson, said she would never lose face by admitting to the killing which shocked the nation.

"In the fantasy world that Catherine Nevin has created for herself, she was a good wife and an excellent businesswoman and on her way up the social and cultural ladder of Ireland," he said.

"She will never admit to what she did because in that fantasy world she is as pure as the driven snow."

In April 2000, she was convicted of her husband's murder after the jury deliberated for a record five days.

The TV3 documentary details how the testimony of three men, who had been asked by Nevin to kill her husband, helped to put her behind bars.

She has spent over a decade trying to get her conviction overturned but all appeals have failed.

The TV3 documentary probes the deeply unhappy marriage endured by the shy, salt-of-the-earth publican in the face of her numerous and very public affairs.

It details how she regularly flaunted her lovers in the pub in front of her husband and even furiously ordered him to knock before entering her bedroom after he found her in bed with another man.

Prof Wilson, who is one of Britain's top criminologists, believes the Galway publican put up with his wife's cruel treatment as he had already had one failed marriage, which had been annulled when he was in his 20s.

He said: "Ireland is a very face-to-face culture. Losing face in a face-to-face culture is one of the worst things that can happen to an individual.

"Being divorced once was bad enough, being publicly cuckolded throughout (his second) marriage must have been really traumatic for him."

The behaviour of Nevin during her trial astonished the nation as she arrived at court every day in power suits after a daily trip to the hairdressers.

Prof Wilson said her obsession with appearance was evident from the fact that she had set up her own modelling agency when she first arrived in Dublin as a single woman in the Seventies.

He said: "The first thing that strikes me about Catherine Nevin, or Catherine Skully as she was, is that she is somebody who is always trying to construct appearance. It seems to me to be very important that the very first thing we know about her is that she set up the Catherine Skully modelling agency. It is a woman who is concerned about appearance, with a desire to create the right appearance in the right circumstances.

"That kind of ambition and desire to push herself forward while constructing the right appearance seems the dominant pattern of her life."

The serial killer expert said Nevin's short temper and the domineering attitude she showed towards the staff of Jack White's pub demonstrated her split personality.

"Catherine Nevin treated her staff very poorly and had a short temper and demanded standards of them that she did not apply to herself -- for example, how they dressed and appeared to the customers," said Prof Wilson.

"They had to be very respectable, which in this sense really meant non-sexual, but Catherine Nevin was often disporting herself in a sexual way. . . somehow she was made to feel better by being able to put her staff down."

He said her inflated self-worth and social climbing tendencies made her believe she would get away with murder.

"I think because of her confidence and because of her belief that she operated in a completely different way (to others) -- and her belief that she was a cut above the people who were going to investigate her -- she presumed she would be able to get out of the charges when she was arrested."

'24 Hours to Kill' will be shown tomorrow at 9pm on Tv3

Sunday Independent