Tuesday 20 February 2018

12 years in jail for man who killed his wife

Oliver Kierans shot his wife in the chest with a sawn-off shotgun
Oliver Kierans shot his wife in the chest with a sawn-off shotgun

Anne Sharkey

A father-of-four who killed his wife of 33 years at their home has been jailed for 12 years.

Patricia Kierans died from a shotgun injury to the chest after being shot at quite close range.

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

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

A majority verdict of not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter, was reached by a Central Criminal Court jury after more than 15 hours of deliberations.

Last February, he was also found guilty of the possession of a 12-gauge double barrel shotgun and guilty of possession with intent to endanger life.

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly said yesterday that it was "tragic" that Mr Kierans caused the death of Patricia Kierans.

"It is tragic that the defendant caused the death of Patricia Kierans. She took great care of her children," said the judge.

"This tragedy was brought about by the criminal act of the defendant.

"I agree with the jury that the correct interpretation is manslaughter through gross negligence," she added.

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 jury were told this did not sit well with the accused, who had began drinking again.

The Central Criminal Court heard that out of the Kierans' four children, three had moved to Australia along with six of their 10 grandchildren.

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

The jury were shown CCTV footage in which a man identified as Oliver Kierans is seen pointing a shotgun at a man identified as Garda Tommy Fay.

In separate CCTV footage from the morning of September 5, a man identified as Oliver Kierans was seen entering Clarkes shop in Bailieborough to purchase two naggins of whiskey.

State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy gave evidence that the cause of death was a shotgun injury to the chest. The victim could have been shot from a distance of or four feet, and that the injuries were of such severity that death would have been almost immediate.


Ms Justice Donnelly said: "It is the evidence of Mr Kierans that he picked up his firearm with the intention of taking his own life and the firearm discharged in the direction of Patricia Kierans.

"Mr Kierans then went to the Square bar (Bailieborough). Mr Kierans behaved oddly, saying to the bartender he might not see her again."

She noted that during the siege, "an unarmed garda was placed in fear of his life". Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly sentenced Kierans to nine years for manslaughter, eight years for unlawful possession of a firearm and 12 years for possession with intent to endanger life to run concurrently.

Speaking outside court, solicitor Cahir O'Higgins said: "It is a tragedy for two families... they are grieving."

Irish Independent

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