Cork murder trial: Jury of 10 to begin deliberations tomorrow

Cork murder trial: Jury of 10 to begin deliberations tomorrow

The 10 jurors who have heard all the evidence in the trial of a woman accused of murdering her 52-year-old brother are coming close to the moment when they will retire to commence their deliberations.

They must also consider their verdicts in respect of the woman’s then partner who is also accused of murder.

Helen Jones, 54, of 27 Cahergal Avenue, Mayfield, Cork, pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering Paul Jones – her 52-year-old brother at his home – on September 4, 2019, at 108 Bandon Road, Cork.

Her co-accused Keith O’Hara, 43, also of 27 Cahergal Avenue, also pleaded not guilty to the same murder charge.

Each defendant is additionally charged with a different count related to alleged trespass at the same time and place. Helen Jones is charged with trespass to cause serious harm while carrying a knife. Keith O’Hara is charged with trespassing to commit serious harm. The defendants also pleaded not guilty to these charges.

Paul Jones (pictured) had received a chop wound to the head which fractured his skull which may have been caused by a machete or like implement.

All parties in the case agreed that the trial could continue in front of a jury of 10 when two jurors failed to appear in the first week of the trial.

Mr Justice Michael McGrath addressed the jury on the legal matters and evidential issues which they should consider in their deliberations. The judge’s charge to the jury will continue tomorrow and when this is complete the jury will deliberate.

In respect of the murder charge against Keith O’Hara they can bring in one of three possible verdicts – guilty, not guilty or thirdly, not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter. This latter possibility arises in his case because he raised the defence of acting in self-defence. His co-accused declined to give evidence and simply pleaded not guilty to the murder charge against her.

While Helen Jones did not give any evidence, her co-accused did testify and he blamed her for murder.

At the height of the cross-examination, Brendan Grehan SC for Helen Jones, said to O’Hara: “You go into the witness box – you lie, you lie and lie again to drag Helen Jones down with you.” Keith O’Hara said: “I did not kill Paul Jones.” 

Mr Grehan referred to witnesses hearing Helen Jones shouting stop and he asked O’Hara what that was about and he replied: “Your client murdered her brother. The dogs and the cat and the rat all know Helen killed her brother.” Mr Grehan asked: “And the fella with the bill-hook, what did he do?” O’Hara replied: “I did not kill him anyway.” 

Chief state pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan examined the body of the deceased on September 8, 2019, and found that he was a man weighing 19 stone and measuring five feet nine inches.

The pathologist described in detail a chop wound to the head which fractured his skull which may have been caused by a machete or like implement, and also described over 20 stab wounds to the chest, stomach and upper back.

Keith O’Hara (pictured) has told the court: “I did not kill Paul Jones.” 

“It is my view that death in this case was due to chop wounds to the head and multiple stab wounds to the trunk and right arm with no contributing factors. The severity of the traumatic injuries was enough to cause death,” Dr Mulligan said.

Tom Creed senior counsel for Keith O’Hara asked Dr Mulligan: “What would the effect of the 25 wounds – absent the chop wound – be?” The pathologist said that the other injuries, which were between 2cms and 12cms deep, caused lung collapse, there were two wounds to the chest, four to the abdomen and blood loss from the liver and that “these wounds would have been fatal as well.” 

The pathologist said: “Death probably occurred 30 minutes to an hour within the time of receiving the injuries.” In her direct evidence the pathologist said four of the stab wounds penetrated the right cavity causing the right lung to collaps

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