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'Jealousy' motive behind accused's confession change, trial jury is told

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Keith Johnston outside court with Louise and Stephanie O’Connor

Keith Johnston outside court with Louise and Stephanie O’Connor

Keith Johnston outside court with Louise and Stephanie O’Connor

Murder accused Kieran Greene changed his confession about killing his partner's mother Patricia O'Connor for "the oldest motive in the book - jealousy", the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Mr Greene was in prison and thought there was a "growing relationship" between his partner Louise O'Connor and her ex-boyfriend Keith Johnston, prosecutor Roisin Lacey SC said.

She told the jury in her closing speech Mr Greene inflicted "catastrophic injuries" on Ms O'Connor in a "sustained attack" with a hurley and there was no basis for arguing it was self-defence.

She said the jury was entitled to consider the "ill will" Mr Greene had for his partner's mother, the "intolerable domestic situation" he was in and the anger he said he felt when he allegedly killed her.

Mr Greene (35) is accused of murdering Ms O'Connor, while her daughter and granddaughter Louise (41) and Stephanie O'Connor (22), as well as Mr Johnston (43) are charged with impeding his prosecution. They all deny the charges.

The grandmother-of-seven was allegedly murdered on May 29, 2017, at the house at Mountain View Park, Rathfarnham, she shared with family including Louise, Stephanie and Mr Greene. Mr Greene was Louise's partner at the time, while Mr Johnston, Stephanie's father, was Louise's ex-boyfriend.

Ms O'Connor's dismembered remains were found scattered in the Wicklow mountains.

Ms Lacey said the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head caused by at least three blows. The skull was fractured and it was likely that a brain injury would have been caused by the "ferocity" of the blows.

Mr Greene went to gardai in June and "confessed" he had killed Ms O'Connor.

He said she attacked him in the bathroom with a hurley, and he disarmed her and defended himself, hitting her.

By Mr Greene's own account, he disarmed Ms O'Connor, but thereafter he repeatedly hit her, Ms Lacey said. If the jury found he used excessive force in the legitimate defence of himself or others, the charge could be reduced to manslaughter.

The jury was entitled to consider the lack of defensive injuries on Ms O'Connor's body, she said. Mr Greene was examined two weeks later and he had no severe injuries. His June interviews "dovetail completely" with the pathologist's evidence.

Mr Greene had a "sea change" last December when he gave a different version of events, claiming it was Ms O'Connor's husband Gus O'Connor who killed her.

Afraid

Mr O'Connor intervened and struck his wife on the head with a metal bar, Mr Greene said.

"I feel like I was set-up. The only reason I didn't say anything before is because I was afraid for the kids," Mr Greene told gardai.

"But now I know that if they get arrested, the kids will go up to my ma and da and my sister."

A guardianship agreement was signed in September and then there was "no concern about the children", Ms Lacey said. She said the motive for the new account "was the oldest motive in the book - jealousy".

The trial continues.


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