Friday 24 November 2017

Woman accused of brutal killing 'had drank four bottles of vodka'

Catherine O'Connor pictured at Cork Criminal Court
Catherine O'Connor pictured at Cork Criminal Court
Jonathan Duke
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A WOMAN accused of murder was found with blood on her hands and feet and said she had no memory of that night after drinking up to four bottles of vodka.

Catherine O'Connor (37) said she had no recollection of events after falling asleep in a flat following a drinking spree.

Ms O'Connor, who denies the murder of father-of-one Jonathan 'Dukie' Duke (27), also told gardai that she had been taking magic mushrooms.

Ms O'Connor, of Bridge House, Sean Hales Place, Bandon, Co Cork, denies the murder at Bridge House on the evening of November 13, 2011.

The strangled body of the young man, a native of the west-Cork town, was recovered from the River Bandon outside his home shortly after gardai attended the scene.

His body had been bound and bore over 60 different injuries with a ligature – a white electrical cable with plug still attached – found around his neck.

He had died from asphyxia with a secondary factor being a significant loss of blood.

Gardai found Ms O'Connor in Flat 3, on the top floor of the complex, after following a blood trail from outside Bridge House, up the stairs and on to the landing.

Ms O'Connor was in the flat with another man who was wearing a blue robe. That man later told gardai the bloodstains belonged to 'Dukie'.

Ms O'Connor, in a statement made to gardai after her arrest, insisted she knew nothing about what had happened and was asleep.


Gardai said the flat was covered in blood spatters with a pool of blood on the floor and a blood smear on the light-switch.

"I just remember . . . I was asleep for a few hours. I woke up in my underwear. That is normal. I don't remember. I was pretty drunk.

"I'd (usually) get up at 11am. I'd start drinking a bottle of vodka and then two or three more over the day."

When she couldn't afford vodka she would drink cider.

Ms O'Connor had moved to Bridge House after leaving a relative's home because of her drinking.

She had attended a treatment centre of drug and alcohol abuse but had resumed drinking sometime before November 2011.

She told gardai she drank so heavily that she often couldn't eat.

"I tried to give it up because I was pretty sick from it," she told officers.

"I woke up on the floor in the middle of the sitting room not long before ye (gardai) came," she added.

Officers had called to the west-Cork building after receiving a '999' call from a resident who said he saw a body being thrown over a balcony.

A short time after gardai arrived at Bridge House, the body of Mr Duke was recovered from the River Bandon underneath the stone bridge outside the apartment complex.

The trial, before Mr Justice Paul Carney, continues today.

Irish Independent

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