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Widow suffered horrific ordeal at hands of killer

A man abducted a 60-year-old widow from her home, brought her to his house in the boot of her car, beat her unconscious and left her to die while he cleaned out her bank account before going on a skiing holiday, a court heard.

Oliver Hayes (50), of Clancool Terrace, Bandon, Co Cork, has gone on trial at the Central Criminal Court charged with murdering Anne Corcoran, from Maulnaskimlehane, Kilbrittain near Bandon.

He has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to her manslaughter on a date between January 19 and 21 2009, after falsely imprisoning her. He also admits stealing €3,000 from her bank account.

John O'Kelly, prosecuting, told the jury that Mrs Corcoran's husband died in 2007 and she was living alone on her farm.

Mr O'Kelly said that as Mrs Corcoran opened her front door to enter, Hayes was "ready for her", grabbed her from behind and pushed her inside.

He then demanded money and was told it was in the bank. She would not reveal her pin number.

"He brought her to her car, put her in the boot and drove her around with the intention that this would break her down," Mr O'Kelly explained. She would not reveal her pin number so he tied her legs with a dog lead and continued to drive around. After about an hour in the car, he brought her to his house and dragged her upstairs to a bedroom.

She eventually gave him her pin numbers but he then began beating her with a stick.

He then picked up a table top and beat the back of her head until she was unconscious and bleeding, Mr O'Kelly said.

"He stuffs a shirt into her mouth, a heavy gag, ties her up and leaves her alone and unconscious," continued Mr O'Kelly. "He returns to her house, ransacks her house, finds the bank cards and, armed with these, heads into Bandon."

He said Hayes withdrew the maximum amount of €600 from the AIB machine. He then returned to the house.

Hayes slept downstairs that night and his victim was dead when he checked her the next day. He continued to make the maximum withdrawals from the widow's account over the next few days, while she lay dead in his house, he said

"On the 24th I think, five days after the murder, he goes off with his girlfriend and her son on a skiing holiday to Austria," explained the barrister. "He also pays off a number of bills with the money, the insurance on his car.

"Before he goes to Austria, he has to get rid of her body," he said. He said Hayes wrapped Mrs Corcoran's body in bin bags and brought it to a wood near Ballinaspittle, where he used petrol to set it on fire.

The trial continues.