Friday 20 September 2019

Death was my fault, says woman in love triangle

Murder trial told of violent clash as she cheated on her partner

Remorse: Claire McGrath was having a secret fling with Graham McKeever. Picture: Collins
Remorse: Claire McGrath was having a secret fling with Graham McKeever. Picture: Collins
Graham McKeever

Eoin Reynolds

A woman whose partner is on trial for murdering her lover yesterday told a jury: "It's all my fault."

Claire McGrath added: "If I had never brought him to my house he would be still alive."

The Central Criminal Court has been told that Graham McKeever (32) was killed by Keith Connorton (40) at the home the accused man shared with Ms McGrath in Deerpark Avenue, Tallaght, Dublin.

Mr Connorton denies murdering Mr McKeever.

Yesterday, Ms McGrath told the court that she was still in a relationship with the accused.

On the night on which Mr McKeever died, she had argued with Mr Connorton about his drug use and told him to go away.

She invited Mr McKeever, with whom she had been having a sexual relationship for six weeks behind her partner's back, to stay the night.

However, Mr Connorton arrived back at the flat. Ms McGrath told the trial that the deceased "burst in" to the room where she was arguing with the accused and said: "She's mine now" before the fatal row broke out.

Ms McGrath told Brendan Grehan SC, prosecuting, that she and Mr Connorton moved into the flat in November 2014, having previously spent time together in homeless accommodation.

By February 2017 they were having problems and often argued, particularly over Mr Connorton's drug use.

They had a "rocky patch" for about a year and while Mr Connorton still lived at the flat they did not share a bed. She said: "We fought all the time but we both love each other and wanted to keep trying."

She added that she had known Mr McKeever since childhood and they met again when she started volunteering to work with the homeless.

"We made a connection," she said, and "one thing led to another".

On February 17 last year, she had an argument with Mr Connorton. He was "intoxicated" on tablets, she said, and she told him to come back when he was sober.

She invited Mr McKeever to spend the night with her "in a romantic way" and they went to bed between 3.30am and 4.30am.

They were "planning to have sex" when Ms McGrath heard a noise from the kitchen. She said she told Mr McKeever to stay where he was and went into the kitchen.

She found Mr Connorton cutting a piece of cannabis with a kitchen knife.

She asked him why he was there and told him to "get out". He asked her if there was someone in the bedroom.

She said Mr McKeever "burst in" and said: "She's mine now", before he "charged into (Mr Connorton) like a bull". Ms McGrath added that a knife found in the flat did not belong to her and must have been brought there by the deceased.

She suggested Mr Connorton might have been trying to defend himself from that knife when Mr McKeever was fatally stabbed.

Ms McGrath said when the accused realised Mr McKeever was dead he became angry and headbutted her and said: "How could you do this to me? It's your fault."

She began to cry as she said: "It is my fault. If I had never brought him to my house he would be alive. I'm so sorry." The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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