Thursday 19 July 2018

Catherine Nevin takes the secret of who pulled the trigger on her husband to her grave - and may be buried alongside victim

Nevin (67) died at a hospice in the Beaumont area of Dublin on Monday night after being diagnosed with a brain tumour two years ago.
Nevin (67) died at a hospice in the Beaumont area of Dublin on Monday night after being diagnosed with a brain tumour two years ago.

Tom Brady and Ken Foy

In a final twist to one of the most shocking criminal cases ever seen in Ireland, Catherine Nevin may be buried in the same cemetery plot as the husband she murdered.

Nevin owns the plot in Barndarrig Cemetery in Wicklow where Tom was buried and has full legal entitlement to be buried with her husband’s remains.

Catherine Nevin with husband Tom whom she had murdered Photo: COLLINS DUBLIN
Catherine Nevin with husband Tom whom she had murdered Photo: COLLINS DUBLIN

A purchase order for plot number 524 shows Nevin gave her address at the time as Jack White’s, Arklow publican. 

The purchase price is recorded as being IR£118, or approximately €150 today.

Tellingly, when ordering the headstone Nevin left space beneath the inscription for the addition of her own name after her death.

Nevin (67) died at a hospice in the Beaumont area of Dublin on Monday night after being diagnosed with a brain tumour two years ago.

She had been on temporary release from the Dóchas Centre women’s prison since last August. She was granted full-time compassionate leave from prison because she needed end-of-life care that could not be provided in jail.

Nevin, who became known throughout the land as the ‘Black Widow’ after a sensational trial 17 years ago, protested her innocence to the end.

Catherine Nevin Photo: Damien Eagers
Catherine Nevin Photo: Damien Eagers

Now she will take the grim secret of who pulled the trigger on her husband to her grave.

Although details of her attempts to solicit three men to carry out the murder emerged at her trial, the identity of the person who pulled the trigger on March 19, 1996, has never been revealed.

The hitman killed Mr Nevin at his pub, Jack White’s, near Brittas Bay in Co Wicklow, with a blast from a shotgun.

He then tied up Catherine Nevin in an effort to make the incident appear to have been part of a robbery.

Catherine Nevin on her way to a hospital appointment
Catherine Nevin on her way to a hospital appointment

There were no signs of  forced entry through any of the doors or windows. And while several thousand pounds were missing from the pub, Nevin’s jewellery box was found on the hall floor with jewellery scattered around it – although no items were missing.

There were no eyewitnesses to dispute Nevin’s story and no forensic evidence to definitively contradict it.

But local gardaí, headed by Det Sgt Fergus O’Brien and a Dublin-based team led by Jim McHugh, who later became an assistant commissioner, painstakingly put together a case that led to her conviction.

She was charged with murder in April 1997 and found guilty in August 2000 after a 42-day trial.

Nevin also got a seven-year sentence for soliciting three men to kill her husband.

The credibility and reliability of three men who say they were solicited by Nevin to kill – but refused to do so – was at the heart of whether her conviction was safe.

Despite her murder conviction, Nevin waged a long running legal battle with her victim’s family in the hopes of inheriting her slain husband’s assets while repeatedly seeking to have her conviction overturned.

Catherine Nevin case
Catherine Nevin case

In recent years Nevin had been engaged in studies while behind bars and one of her lecturers last night recalled how she made “a lot of friends”.

However, Derek Byrne, a drug and alcohol policy lecturer in Maynooth University, also said he was conscious it was a difficult time for the family of Nevin’s husband.

“What they went through must have been dreadful as well and I would never dismiss that in any way, shape or form,” he said.

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