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Woman kicked to death over cannabis, trial told

A MAN accused of murdering his girlfriend in Dublin three years ago had sex with her dead body and kept it in his flat for three days before giving himself up, a jury heard yesterday. In the Central Criminal Court, Laurence (Larry) Callaghan (33), formerly of Strand House, Athlone, denied murder but pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Janet Mooney (29), between September 17 and 19, 1996 in the flat they shared in Harrington Street, Dublin.

Opening the prosecution case before a jury of 10 men and two women, Mr Sean Ryan SC said that the evidence would show that after a day spent drinking and smoking cannabis, the couple had an argument, which according to the accused, was over the whereabouts of a £5 hash deal Ms Mooney had just bought.

Ms Mooney was getting ready for bed when the accused asked her where the second of two hash deals she had earlier bought were. ``She told him more or less to f... off, and at that, he kicked her; he acknowledges he kicked her severely, and he killed her,'' said Mr Ryan.

He said the state pathologist's evidence would show she suffered at least six separate injuries to her head and severe injuries to her chest, with six fractured ribs on the left side and two on the right side. In addition, there were 20 bruises to the left of her abdomen and 18 to the right.

On September 19, 1996 Callaghan went to a friend who rang the gardai.

In later admissions to detectives, he said that the morning after he attacked Ms Mooney, he awoke beside her body and had sex with it. ``I didn't realise she was dead,'' he told gardai.

Mr Gregory Keelan, a mechanic living at Rathmines Park, said that when he arrived home at on September 19, the accused was waiting for him.

Callaghan told him that a row had broken out between himself and Janet. He had kicked her and she had ``spewed blood from the mouth''.

Mr Keelan immediately rang the gardai. Garda David McDonnell agreed with defence counsel Mill Arden SC that Callaghan had been very open and frank.

The trial continues.

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