Saturday 21 April 2018

Woman to face trial following death of her husband 25 years ago

Philomena Coton (59) leaving court today
Philomena Coton (59) leaving court today

Andrew Phelan

A WOMAN is to go on trial charged in connection with the death of her husband who was killed in an attack at his home in 1988.

Philomena Coton (59) was returned for trial after she had a book of evidence served on her at Dublin District Court today.


She is facing a charge of assault with intent to murder her then-husband, Christopher Payne, who died after he was attacked at his Crumlin home by a group of men armed with a hatchet. She is also charged with causing grievous bodily harm.


The accused, with an address at Stoke Aldermoor, Coventry is alleged to have committed the offences at 82 Rutland Grove, Crumlin, on May 13 1988. She was extradited from England to face the charges in January this year and was initially refused bail in the District Court, before it was granted by a High Court judge.


She denies both charges.


Judge Victor Blake gave her the formal alibi warning before returning her for trial to the current sittings of the Central Criminal Court.


This means she must notify the state of any alibi she intends to rely on in the course of her trial within 14 days.


The defendant, wearing an orange and cream-coloured jacket and black trousers stood throughout the brief proceedings and addressed the court only to nod and reply "yes" when the judge asked if she understood the alibi warning.


Judge Blake sent her forward on existing bail conditions, granted at the High Court.


Bail had been granted in her own bond of €500 and an independent surety of €5,000, of which €1,300 was to be lodged in cash.


A man called James Doyle had stood surety for her and was present in court along with a number of members of the accused's family and friends.


Among the bail terms are that she resides in Johnstown, Naas, Co Kildare and signs on at Naas Garda Station.


She must also surrender her passport and not apply for any other travel documents. Ms Coton is to have no contact with non-family member witnesses in the case under her bail conditions.


Legal aid was assigned after her solicitor, Joanna O'Connor said the accused's circumstances had not changed since her last court appearance.


Ms Coton had previously wept in court after telling gardaí "I'm innocent" when she was charged.


Mr Payne, who suffered from a chronic kidney ailment, was treated in hospital for serious head injuries sustained in the assault but never recovered; he died six months later, aged 38.


At a previous hearing, Detective Sergeant Daniel Kelly of Sundrive Road Garda station told Judge Blake that he arrested the accused on foot of a warrant at Dublin Airport. She was brought to Sundrive Road station where she was charged.


State solicitor Vincent Maloney had said the DPP directed that Mrs Coton should be tried on indictment. Ms Coton is the second person to face charges following a review of the investigation by the garda cold case unit.


In December 2011, her daughter 40-year-old Sharon Cullen, who now resides in Ballyjamesduff in Co Cavan, had also been charged with assault with intent to murder Christopher Payne, and assaulting him causing grievous bodily harm.


She has brought a High Court challenge aimed at halting her trial and contends she cannot get a fair trial due to the delay in prosecuting her.


In 1989, two youths were jailed for their role in the attack.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News