Thursday 15 November 2018

Staff `sent home' on night of pub murder

By RITA O'REILLY MURDER accused Catherine Nevin told staff at Jack White's Inn that none of them could stay at the Inn on the night her...

MURDER accused Catherine Nevin told staff at Jack White's Inn that none of them could stay at the Inn on the night her husband was shot dead by armed and masked raiders, her trial heard yesterday.

A former worker at the Inn, Ms Liz Hudson of Barndarrig, Co Wicklow, said this had never happened before.

Ms Hudson also told the trial that ``Judge O Buachalla'' was well known on the premises and at one stage had a set of keys belonging to the Inn.

The allegation came as Ms Hudson was called to give evidence, the first former worker at the Inn to be called since last Monday, when the jury heard from Mrs Jane Murphy of Redcross, Co Wicklow, who was a cleaner at the Inn from 1987 until the shooting of Mr Nevin. Mrs Murphy's evidence was that ``the judge from Arklow'' had visited and stayed there.

Liz Hudson told prosecution lawyer Peter Charleton SC that she began working in Jack White's Inn in 1991. She said that staff at the Inn would generally go to a disco on bank holiday Mondays. When this happened, ``they all came back and stayed in Jack White's, because some of the staff stayed there anyway''.

Only on the night of the St Patrick's weekend bank holiday in 1996 were staff not let back in.

She recalled Mrs Nevin asking them before the night where they were staying. Some said they wanted to return to the Inn, as was usual. ``Catherine said, there is no one, and I mean no one, staying here tonight,'' the witness recalled.

Asked about former garda inspector Tom Kennedy being in and around the premises, she said he was there ``most days''. Most mornings he would be there, sometimes he would have his breakfast and go away and come back, she said. ``She would have her friends in, Tom would never have anybody in,'' she said. ``As far as we could see like, she was having affairs.''

DENIALS

It was the 15th day of prosecution evidence in the trial of Catherine Nevin (48), who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of her husband Tom Nevin (54) on March 19, 1996 in their home at Jack White's Inn, Ballinapark, near Brittas Bay in County Wicklow.

She also denies soliciting John Jones and William McClean to murder her husband. Mr Nevin died from a single shotgun blast to his right chest as he counted his pub takings in the kitchen in the early hours of the morning. About £16,550 in cash was taken by his killers. The prosecution has alleged that Mrs Nevin arranged for her husband to be shot in what would look like a botched robbery. They allege that she bore animosity towards her husband and wanted control of the business. She has denied the allegations.

Counsel for Mrs Nevin also denied an allegation from Mr William McClean that she had an affair with him.

Mr McClean had given evidence that the accused asked him to get someone ``to do a job'' on Tom Nevin. He alleged she said she wanted it done because she would get ``the insurance money, the lot, everything'' and that they could get back together if he was party to it.

`DECEPTION'

Mr McClean said he told her ``No f...ing way'' and left the hospital room where the alleged proposition took place.

Paul Burns BL, for Mrs Nevin, put it to Mr McClean that ``The bit about the insurance money was put in by you because it occurred to you that it would make your evidence more credible.'' Mr McClean disagreed. He also disagreed that his evidence was ``simply a web of deception''.

When it was put to him that the supposed relationship with Mrs Nevin and the supposed conversation in the hospital never happened, Mr McClean replied: ``You're saying there was no relationship, is that correct?'' Mr Burns said he was. Mr McClean said he disagreed.

The witness admitted that he was involved in ``wheeling and dealing'' but denied defence suggestions that he traded in dishonesty.

He admitted to ``doing a bit of smuggling back them years ... in the mid-80s.'' When it was put to him that this meant he was involved in dishonest business, he replied, ``Well, if you think smuggling is dishonest.'' He told counsel, ``It's kind of a way of life down around Monaghan, down around the border, you know.''

He and counsel thought differently, he said. ``It was a bit of smuggling, all I was smuggling was drink, spirits, what's the harm in that?'

``I used to smuggle cattle years ago well, when I was a young fellow''. Smuggling was a crime, said Mr Burns. ``Well if you're caught it is,'' replied the witness. He said he had smuggled across the border from County Fermanagh and Armagh, but said it was not South Armagh. He said he had no connections with paramilitaries.

The trial continues on Monday before Ms Justice Mella Carroll and the jury.

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