Woman sentenced to six years for killing friend
A WOMAN has been sentenced to six years with the final 18 months suspended for the manslaughter of an acquaintance she had been drinking with earlier that night.
Agnes McCarthy (57) of Meadowbrook, Athlone, had initially denied the charge but was convicted by a jury last April.
She had pleaded not guilty at Mullingar Circuit Criminal Court sitting, in Tullamore, to the unlawful killing of Lillian Scanlon at the victim’s home in Athlone between May 8 and 9, 2008.
The trial heard that the mother of three was found dead in a pool of blood.
Dr Marie Cassidy told the trial that Ms Scanlon had died due to an injury to her neck which was consistent with pressure having been applied to it.
It was also outlined that the force used was not overly excessive but the damage caused to the victim by the assault was compromised by her own intake of alcohol.
“A healthy person who did not have this amount of alcohol taken, with this type of force applied, would not normally result in their death,” Judge Tony Hunt said.
The judge also noted that Ms Scanlon had been found partially clothed lying in the corner of her living room.
He said that this fact led the court to infer that McCarthy had interfered with the victim’s clothing in “a hand-fisted attempt” to confuse those investigating her death as to the manner in which she had died.
He said it was evident from the previous hearing that Ms Scanlon had been “a generous, warm, very decent and kind woman and her loss was a very deep loss to her local community”.
The judge accepted that Ms Scanlon had her own difficulties with alcohol and acknowledged that problems with it had been "unfortunately a regular feature in her life”.
He noted that although McCarthy made some admissions to gardaí that she had hit Ms Scanlon she denied every having put her hands around her neck.
The judge also took into account the evidence of the trial that the McCarthy’s DNA was found underneath the victims fingernail and that a lady sleeping in the house heard Ms Scanlon call out “take your hands off my neck”.
Judge Hunt said considering the level of force used by McCarthy the attack was at the lower end of the scale but said the crime was aggravated by the existence of “the amateur cover up”.
He sentenced McCarthy to six years in prison but suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions including that she liaise with the Probation Service for 12 months upon her release in order “to regulate or curb her own use of alcohol”.