THE killer of widow Anne Corcoran targeted the 60-year-old because she was a woman living alone, the Central Criminal Court heard.
Oliver Hayes (49) of Clancool Terrace, Bandon, Co Cork, broke down in tears when he admitted to gardai that the woman for whom hundreds of people were searching was dead and that he had killed her.
Hayes sobbed in court as the jury watched a garda recording of his confession during the sixth day of his trial yesterday.
He told gardai he had walked from Bandon to the widow's house at Maulnaskimlehane, Kilbrittain, Co Cork, on the evening of January 19 last year.
He said: "I went to her house with the intention of getting money from her."
Hayes, a painter and decorator, admits Mrs Corcoran's manslaughter but denies murdering her between January 19 and 21, 2009. He also admits falsely imprisoning her and stealing €3,000 from her account over the following days.
During the taped confession, he told gardai: "As she was going for the front door, I caught her from behind and asked her for money.
"I just put my hand around her neck. She tried to struggle a small bit." He agreed with gardai that she had screamed.
"After about 10 minutes she wasn't saying anything. She said she hadn't any money, that it was all in the bank. So I told her I'd take her away until I had some," he said.
"She said she'd go to the bank with me and get it out. She only wanted to get away. I thought it was only a ploy to get out to the open and I wasn't going to fall for that.
"I tied her hands with washing line chord," he added.
Hayes then put Mrs Corcoran into the boot of her car.
"I stopped in a few places and asked her again," he said. Mrs Corcoran did not have her purse with her.
"So I took her to my house then and I asked her again."
"I told her she'd have to stay here until I got some. So after about half an hour she gave the number," he said, recalling the pin for the detectives.
"She had the card in her house," he said.
"So I wanted to knock her out. I hit her with a board and it didn't take any effect," he added, explaining that he hit her four or five times in the back of the head.
"So then I hit her with the other board. It was a bit heavier."
Having knocked her unconscious with two blows of a kitchen worktop, Hayes drove back to the victim's house.
"I knew she'd be there when I came back," he said. "I got the card and I fed the dogs. I came back home."
The following morning he discovered she was dead.
"She wasn't breathing and I saw an awful lot of blood on the ground," Hayes said.
"So I went back downstairs for about an hour and sat back down. I didn't know what to do at that stage."
Hayes then admitted to disposing of the body.
He wrapped the body in two coal bags and drove it in his van to woodlands near Ballinspittle, explaining the location and drawing a map.
"I put the body in the ground, put petrol on it and set it on fire in case of evidence," he told gardai. "Then I covered it with stones. I never meant to do it."
Earlier, the assistant state pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster, told the trial that Mrs Corcoran had died of blunt force trauma to the head, along with asphyxia with a gag.
The trial continues.