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'Good samaritan' (59) stabbed 28 times and battered to death with kitchen pans by man she had been 'kind to', court hears

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A 'Good Samaritan' was stabbed 28 times and battered to death with kitchen pans by a man she had kindly given a roof over his head, a court heard today.

The court was told that the body of "vulnerable'' Pauline Kilkenny lay undiscovered for almost a week after Joseph Dolan repeatedly stabbed her to the neck, face, back and chest.

Dolan (29), formerly of Cavan Town, in Co Cavan, had originally been charged with the murder of Ms Kilkenny whose body was found in November 2018 at her isolated three-bedroom bungalow on the Cornacully Road in Belcoo, Co Fermanagh.

But that charge was withdrawn following medical reports which assessed he was suffering from a personality disorder at the time.

Last December Dolan pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of the 59-year-old by way of diminished responsibilty as he had taken prescrption drugs before he attacked her as he lay dying, including the drug Lyrica.

Dolan further admitted stealing Ms Kilkenny's Fiat Panda car and perverting the course of justice by falsely implicating his former girlfriend in the horrific murder.

Members of Ms Kilkenny's family sat dignified in the public allery today as senior prosecution counsel Ciaran Murphy QC told Dungannon Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, that Ms Kilkenny had been living in Belcoo for a number of years and by way of a "Good Samaritan'' had taken in Dolan and he was living in her spare bedroom.

He said Ms Kilkenny worked at a shop in Belcoo and on November 7, 2018 she decided to take a few days off and was due to start back a few days later.

But when Ms Kilkenny did not show up for work a colleague alerted family members by text messages and one of Ms Kilkenny's sisters went to her isolated bungalow on November 13, 2018.

Inside, said Mr Murphy, Ms Kilkenny was found lying under a window, face down in a pool of blood, with blood coming from the back of her head and skull.

After the alarm was raised, police attended the scene and found the body of Ms Kilkenny to the right side of the bed surrounded by a lot of blood. As her body was cold to touch, police believed she had been "dead for some time''.

The court heard police were on the look out for Ms Kilkenny's Fiat Panda car and when it was spotted later that afternoon, an officer drew his firearm and stopped the vehicle, arresting the driver Dolan for Ms Kilkenny's murder.

Dolan's ex-girlfriend told police that on November 7, 2018, he came to her home and she noticed he had cash in ten and 20 pound notes along with a Santander bank card in the name of 'P Kilkenny'.

The court heard that Dolan returned to Ms Kilkenny's home on November 8, 2018 and moved her Fiat car from the property.

A post mortem examination revealed that Ms Kilkenny sustained 28 stab wounds to the neck, face, back, chest and right arm along with four blunt force trauma injuries to the head after Dolan had battered her with kitchen pans.

The senior prosecutor said it was a "vicious, unprovoked attack on an innocent, vulnerable victim" and that she had been stabbed "when she was either dead or close to death''.

Mr Murphy read a victim impact statement from one of Ms Kilkenny's nieces who described her aunt as "the epitome of light".

"She would brighten up faces, rooms and lives" she said.

"Nothing will take away the pain of this loss.

"I tell my stories to the sky now when I visit her grave.''

Dolan had 27 previous convictions in the Republic of Ireland, including violent disorder.

In 2013, he was sentenced to three years for robbery and for beating a Drogheda pensioner and stabbing a taxi driver.

Mr Murphy said the medical reports showed that Dolan was dangerous and posed an indefinite risk of violent offending in the future.

But he added that it was up to the court to assess whether he "posed a significant risk of serious harm to the public in the future''.

He urged the court to impose an indeterminate sentence so that Parole Commissioners could assess the level of risk to the public Dolan posed once he becomes eligible for release.

Describing the killing as a "terrible tragedy'', defence counsel Jim allaher QC told Mr Justice Colton: "At the outset it is appropriate that we, as the defence for the defendant, make it absolutely clear that the deceased was a very good person.

"She was a person who was kind and generous to the defendant and indeed she brought him in and put a roof over his head in circumstances where he had few options at the time.

"And of course we expressly accept that it makes it all the more dreadful that she died in the circumstances in which she did.

"Regrettably, when one looks at the facts of the case she had the greatest misfortune to be present when the defendant was in some disorder of the mind suffering from a mental disorder acting in the way that he did.

"We accept completely the generosity and kindness of the deceased in her interactions with the defendant.''

Mr Gallagher told Mr Justice Colton that Dolan was "shocked and distressed when he ultimately realised what he did''.

The defence counsel said that when he was admitted to Maghaberry prison he was assessed by the jail's mental health team.

It reported that Dolan said that Ms Kilkenny had been "like a mother to him...he feels remorseful about what he has done, was having flashbacks and 'sees her face when he wakes in the morning and before he goes to bed at night'.''

Mr Justice Colton said he had a "lot of material'' he wanted to consider before he passed sentence on Friday, February 28.

Belfast Telegraph