Sunday 24 February 2019

Trial averted as man pleads guilty to murder of mother of four found dead in apartment

Mother of four Samantha Walsh was murdered at Thomas Court, in Thomas Street, Waterford city, on April 28, 2017.
Mother of four Samantha Walsh was murdered at Thomas Court, in Thomas Street, Waterford city, on April 28, 2017.
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A man has pleaded guilty to the murder of a mother of four whose body was found in an apartment in Waterford last year.

Danny Whelan (30) admitted the killing of Samantha Walsh (31) and was remanded in custody for sentencing on a later date.

He entered the plea before Mr Justice Michael White at the Central Criminal Court.

Ms Walsh was murdered at Thomas Court, Thomas Street, Waterford city, on April 28, 2017.

Whelan was due to go on trial for murder yesterday.

However, when his case was called, Mr Justice White was informed that a jury would not be required.

Samantha Walsh
Samantha Walsh

The accused, of no fixed address but originally from Thurles, Co Tipperary, stood when the court registrar read out the charge, then replied: "Guilty" when asked how he was pleading.

He did not otherwise address the court during the brief hearing.

Wearing a white-and-blue striped shirt, blue tie and dark trousers, he was led back into custody from the dock.

Mr Justice White remanded him in custody to Tuesday, but said the case would be mentioned before that to establish if an earlier sentence date - on Friday - is available.

Mr Justice White ordered the preparation of a victim impact statement in relation to the next of kin.

The court heard the sentence hearing would take around 40 minutes.

The mandatory penalty for murder is life imprisonment.

Ms Walsh's body was found in an apartment by emergency personnel on the day she was murdered.

Originally from the Lisduggan area of Waterford, she had also lived in Sligo and Mayo in recent years before returning to her home city, where she rented the apartment.

A murder investigation was launched after a post-mortem examination showed she had been assaulted.

After Whelan was arrested in May 2017, he was brought before Waterford District Court where Detective Garda Patrick Kelly gave evidence of his charge and caution.

Defence solicitor Colin Morrissey said at the time that Whelan had been released from hospital earlier and asked that he be given medical and psychological treatment in custody.

At her funeral in May 2017, Fr Pat Fitzgerald told mourners that it was a great injustice that Ms Walsh was deprived of the opportunities and the possibilities that awaited her in the future by her untimely death.

He said she had a unique personality and character, she loved life, loved music and reading, and also had a love of boxing.

She was kind, generous and always looked out for others and was so proud of her four children and her family, Fr Fitzgerald said.

Irish Independent

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