Thursday 21 November 2019

Angry scenes erupt in court during appearance of man charged with murder of mum-of-four

Samantha Walsh
Samantha Walsh

Ralph Riegel

Angry scenes erupted at Waterford District Court as a man charged with the murder of a mother of four appeared on remand.

Five people had to be escorted from Judge Kevin Staunton's court as they attempted to confront Danny Whelan (25) when he was escorted into the court room.

Mr Whelan is charged with the murder of Samantha Walsh, a mother of four, in a Waterford city apartment.

The accused, of No Fixed Abode but who is originally from Thurles, Co Tipperary, appeared in the Gracedieu court flanked by Irish Prison Service officers and Gardaí.

However, immediately he was brought into the courtroom, a young woman ran to confront him shouting: "Have a look, Danny, have a look."

The woman also shouted: "Bastard".

She was then escorted shouting from the courtroom by Gardaí.

Four other men, all of whom shouted various expletives and abusive remarks at Mr Whelan, were also escorted from the courtroom by Gardaí.

More than 20 Gardaí and Irish Prison Service officials were present for Mr Whelan's brief hearing.

The case resumed after a slight delay once everyone who had shouted obscenities at Mr Whelan were removed.

Inspector Stephen O'Sullivan told Judge Staunton he was applying for an adjournment until July 24.

He explained that while large elements of the case file are ready, Gardaí are still awaiting the finalisation of a toxicology report following the post mortem examination for the defence.

Judge Staunton noted that it was "a very serious matter" and that the State had set out a legitimate and reasonable purpose for the adjournment.

He remanded Mr Whelan to appear again before Waterford District Court on July 24when the book of evidence is expected to be served.

Mr Whelan, who appeared in court wearing a track suit pants and grey sports top, did not speak during the hearing.

Ms Walsh, who was from Lisduggan in Waterford city, was discovered unresponsive in a bedroom of a flat in Ballybricken last April.

She was pronounced dead at the scene  despite desperate efforts to revive her by emergency service members who were attending an alert raised by an individual at the flat.

Mr Whelan is charged with her murder at Thomas Street, Waterford at a time unknown between April 27 and 28.

Det Garda Pat Kelly previously told Judge Staunton he arrested, cautioned and charged Mr Whelan at Waterford Garda Station on May 2.

He told the court that Mr Whelan made no reply when the charge was formally put to him.

As it is a murder charge, bail cannot be dealt with by the District Court and must be handled by the High Court.

Mr Whelan's solicitor had previously told the court his client is adamant he replied "not guilty" when first charged by Gardaí.

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