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Man admits killing missing mother of one

A MAN has admitted killing a mother of one last summer, but denied murder.

Bernard Curran (53) appeared before the Central Criminal Court yesterday morning, charged with murdering Helen Donegan (30).

After consulting his legal team, he pleaded not guilty to her murder on a date unknown between May 4, 2010, and June 22, 2010, at a location inside the State.

However, he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of the Ballyfermot native, who had been living in St Patrick's Park, Celbridge, Co Kildare.

Brendan Grehan, prosecuting, said this plea was acceptable to the State.

Michael O'Higgins, defending, said that in the aftermath of the event, his client had given information to the gardai that was untrue and highly misleading.

He said the defendant wanted to apologise for the upset this had caused Ms Donegan's family. Mr O'Higgins also said his client was suicidal at the time and was receiving the necessary treatment in prison.

Mr Justice Paul Carney remanded Curran, of The Weir, Lucan, in custody for sentencing on February 20.

Ms Donegan was reported missing to gardai on May 17, almost two weeks after her disappearance.

Six weeks after she went missing, gardai began searching a rented garage off Aylmer Road in Newcastle, Co Dublin, when they became suspicious about a silver Saab car, which had been parked there in a large yard used to store vehicles.

They found a badly decomposed body in the boot of the car and which was then later identified as the remains of Ms Donegan.

In the meantime, gardai had taken possession of a shotgun, which was taken for forensic and ballistic tests to the technical bureau at Garda headquarters in the Phoenix Park.

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An inquest was told by State Pathologist Marie Cassidy late last year that Ms Donegan died from a single shotgun blast to the chest.

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