Friday 13 December 2019

Fascination continues with this formidable blonde

Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

IT is almost 20 years since publican Tom Nevin was murdered at Jack White's Inn, the pub near Brittas Bay in Co Wicklow that he owned with his wife, Catherine Nevin.

The sensational murder trial of the formidable blonde, later dubbed the 'Black Widow,' captivated the country.

Mrs Nevin has been a source of enduring fascination ever since.

The now 61-year-old has steadfastly maintained her innocence, declaring as late as yesterday that she had no hand, act or part in the shocking killing.

She has also maintained her profile through a series of court appeals, all of which have failed.

And after yesterday's drubbing in the Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA), it looks like the end of the legal road for the Mrs Nevin.

The appeals process has been exhaustive – and exhausting. In 2003, she sought to have her conviction overturned, but this was dismissed.

Seven years later she fought to have her conviction quashed and declared a miscarriage of justice.

This particular legal foray followed publication, in the 'Sunday World', of details of a Suspect Antecedent History Form (SAHF) held by gardai on William McClean, a key prosecution witness and one of three men who were solicited by Nevin to kill her husband.

None of the men were suspected of involvement in his death.

The anonymous leak to the 'Sunday World' prompted Nevin to cry foul and she sought copies of the forms on McClean and two other men a jury found she approached to kill her husband, which had not been disclosed at her original trial.

If she thought the existence of the SAHFs would unlock the key to her freedom, her hopes were dashed by the CCA which ruled, amongst other things, that they did not constitute evidence.

The three-judge court reviewed 140 'suspect history' forms before rejecting Nevin's miscarriage of justice bid. Four years later, Nevin returned to the CCA, this time arguing that had she access to the forms during her trial, the cross-examination of witnesses could have been entirely different. That, too, was rejected yesterday.

She may not be finished with the courts. She could attempt a challenge to the European Court of Human Rights. She is also embroiled in civil proceedings with her late husband's family.

Whatever the future holds, she will continue to fascinate for years to come.

Irish Independent

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