WIDE-eyed with grief and fearful apprehension, Anne Jenkins clutched a handkerchief with one shaking hand and grasped the gold chain around her neck with the other, as State Pathologist Marie Cassidy yesterday took the stand.
The devastated mother was clearly dreading the brutal and shocking evidence on how her beloved daughter, Amanda (27) had died at the hands of her boyfriend, Stephen Carney, who admits strangling her but denies murder.
Anne's sisters cast worried glances at her throughout the ordeal, occasionally stroking Ms Jenkins' arm gently, aware of the torture she was enduring in having to hear all this first hand.
Trembling violently and breathing rapidly in an effort to maintain her composure, she listened as the pathologist spoke in frank and professional tones of the extensive bruising and damage to Amanda's neck and the physical effects of asphyxiation on the blood vessels of the face.
But it all became too much when Diarmaid McGuinness, for the prosecution, asked what period of time would be involved in causing death in this fashion.
Prof Cassidy replied that it was difficult to say -- it could be 15 seconds, less or longer.
All she could say was that Amanda's neck had been compressed for "at least some seconds" but she could not be more precise than that.
In a state of utter heartbreak that the entire courtroom could barely stand to witness, Anne Jenkins rose abruptly from her seat and sobbing quietly, fled the courtroom, as her siblings rose in a body to follow, in a helpless bid to provide her with some comfort.
After lunch, Ms Jenkins struggled with emotions of a different kind as footage was shown of the initial garda interview of Stephen Carney, his confession of causing the death of Amanda and his account of what had led up to that tragic point.
The footage showed the unkempt figure of the accused, dressed in a blue-striped polo-shirt and in an apparent state of disbelief and horror, frequently placing his head in his hands and hoarsely whispering "Oh Jesus" as he struggled to come to terms with what had taken place.
"It was just a stupid little argument," he explained.