Wednesday 21 March 2018

Jury fails to reach verdict in nurse’s murder trial

Niamh O'Donoghue

THE jury have failed to reach a verdict in the trial of a nurse accused of murdering her mother on Christmas Eve 2010.

Lithuanian Greta Dudko (35) of Station Court Hall, Clonsilla in Dublin had pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Anna Butautiene (55) at that address on December 24, 2010.

The Central Criminal Court heard the plea was not acceptable to the Director of Public Prosecutions and a jury of seven men and five women were sworn in for the two-week trial.

After six-and-half hours of deliberation the jury said they did not think it was possible to reach a verdict because their minds were made up.

Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan thanked the jury before excusing them and the case will be mentioned next Monday when a new trial date may be set.

The court heard Dudko was employed in Newpark Care Centre nursing home in the Ward in North Dublin but had been suspended earlier that month for drinking at work.

She was living with her mother and four-year-old son after separating from her husband two weeks before the incident.

Dudko told gardai she was watching television in bed when her mother came home and started arguing with her because her son was at his father’s house.

She said her mother hit her on the face with something but she did not know what with and that she was pulling her hair.

Dudko initially told gardai she hit her mother twice against a wall and she fell on the bed because her mother was trying to kill her.

But she later admitted she also got an ‘Irish Knights’ liqueur bottle from the kitchen and struck her twice over the head with it while she was in bed.

“I hit her on the face with the empty bottle twice because I thought she was going to ruin my life and just hated her,” Ms Dudko told gardai.

 “There was no intention of killing her, just to shut her up for the evening,” she said.

She told gardai that she covered her mother’s body with a duvet, cleaned blood off the wall, turned off the light and closed the door.

Her husband Vitalij Dudko gave evidence in the trial that Ms Butautiene did not approve of him and was checking his emails and phone because she thought he was seeing other women.

Mr Dudko told the court that he had been on internet dating sites and said he met with two women for sex.

He said that Ms Butautiene was interfering in their marriage and he and Ms Dudko were talking about sending her back to Lithuania.

Mr Dudko told the court his mother-in-law came to live with them six or seven months after their son was born in 2007 to look after him.

He told the court his wife was reared by her grandparents and had a closer relationship with them that she did with her mother.

Mr Dudko said Ms Butautiene drank very little and he only saw her intoxicated a couple of times on special occasions.

He said that when he separated from his wife he asked Ms Butautiene to take Dudko’s bank cards away so she would not have access to money to buy alcohol. 

Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis said the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

He said there were between five to eight blows to the head and face, which would have rendered her unconscious.

Detective Sergeant Thomas Carey of the Garda ballistics section told the court that a number of fair hairs were caught in Ms Butautiene’s fingers.

He found a passport in the bin in the name of Anna Butautiene, which had been cut into fragments, some of which were burnt.

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