Thursday 14 December 2017

Murder accused breaks down describing self-harm upon victim's body discovery

The accused Colm Deely at the Central Criminal Court
The accused Colm Deely at the Central Criminal Court

Brian Kavanagh

A FAS worker accused of murdering a woman in Co Clare two years ago broke down as he explained to a Central Criminal Court jury why he stabbed himself in the stomach when the woman’s body was discovered.

Colm Deely (41), of School Road in Ballyvaughan, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Deirdre McCarthy (43), between 11pm on March 27, 2011 and noon the following day.

The Central Criminal Court has heard that Ms McCarthy’s body was found on Fanore Beach on March 31.

Asked by his defence counsel, Mr Martin Giblin SC, why he had harmed himself with a knife on the day after Ms McCarthy’s’ body was discovered, the accused man broke down on the witness stand.

“Deirdre had been found, and I knew she wasn’t coming back,” he said.

Earlier in his evidence, when asked by Mr Giblin what caused him to place his hands around Ms McCarthy’s neck, the accused man said: “She said forget about your money and asked for three thousand more and said I wouldn’t see my boys. She was laughing and I lost complete control of myself. I never meant to hurt her.”

The trial previously heard that the accused told gardai in interview he had given Ms McCarthy a loan of €2900 in March 2008.

The accused man told Mr Giblin that he had not cared about the money and it was effect of what Ms McCarthy had said about not seeing his boys that had caused him to lose “complete control”.

Mr Deely told counsel that he removed the deceased from her home and put her in his Toyota Starlet car, but did not know what his intentions were because he was in fear and was panicking.

He said that somewhere along the road to Fanore he took the deceased from his car and put her over a wall, telling his counsel that he had “no idea” whether the tide was in or out at the time.

The accused man denied he had done anything to Ms McCarthy’s eyes before putting her over the wall.

On Monday the jury heard evidence from Deputy State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar, who said that he was struck by the absence of eyes when he examined the deceased’s body and was forced to entertain the possibility that the eyes were gouged out and that it was the act of a human perpetrator.

The pathologist also told the court that the tongue was torn, and while there was no evidence of sexual assault, such an event would not always carry a physical manifestation.

The accused man told Mr Giblin he was certain the deceased still had her eyes when he put her over the wall and replied “definitely not” when asked if he done anything to the tongue.

He said he did not sexually assault Ms McCarthy in any way and agreed "whatever comes about" he wanted it to be known he did not do those things.

Mr Deely told his counsel that after he put the body over the wall, he went home and fell asleep in the sitting room of his home.

Asked by Counsel for the State, Mr Paul Greene SC, as to whether he felt sorry for himself, the accused man said he was upset about what had happened.

He said he accepted that he had strangled Deirdre McCarthy, but said he never meant to hurt her, and agreed that he drove the deceased out to Blackhead in his car.

Mr Deely denied that he drove out to the location as it was the nearest place to dump the body, telling the court that he was just driving in the car and did not know what he was doing.

He told Mr Greene that he did not remember dumping Ms McCarthy’s phone on a beach and had deleted everything off his own phone the following morning as the handset would “clog-up” and the screen would go blank until it was “cleared out”. 

The court heard Ms McCarthy, who worked in a B&B in Ballyvaughan, was a friend of Mr Deely’s and that he had known her for up to 20 years.

The trial continues.

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