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Retired member of defence forces on trial for murder of woman

Jimmy Devaney
Jimmy Devaney

A retired member of the defence forces has gone on trial accused of murdering a woman in the town four years ago.

Jimmy Devaney (66) of Millbrook Avenue, Monksland, Athlone has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Marie Greene in Westmeath on February 13, 2011.

In his opening Alex Owens SC prosecuting told the jury it was the State’s case that the accused murdered Marie Greene on the evening of the 13th of February some time after 8pm at Annagorta bog in Ballykieran outside Athlone.

Ms Greene lived at St. Mel’s Terrace for a number of years with her mother and sister, the court heard.

The court was told the accused, who is a retired member of the Defence Forces, was from Monksland in Co Roscommon.

Mr Owens said the evidence will be that for a number of years she was a prostitute in Athlone and Mr Devaney was one of her clients.

Counsel said Ms Greene was murdered by Mr Devaney because she was blackmailing him and it would appear from the evidence that in the months leading up to February 13 the accused was looking for money from a number of sources.

The court was told Ms Greene was looking for the money or he would be revealed to his wife.

He said the jury would hear evidence that shortly before the events he got 1000 euro from one of his card playing friends and 3000 euro from a brother-in-law in England.

The court heard Mr Devaney was a card player who attended the Lighthouse Casino in Custume Place, Athlone where people would all chip in and last man standing would take all the money.

Mr Owens said the jury would hear evidence of telephones used in the case.

Ms Greene was seen walking up Grace Park Road towards the Social Welfare Office that evening, the court heard.

Counsel said the evidence will be that she was seen getting into a jeep and that was the last time she was seen alive. Her body was found nine days later on February 22.

The prosecution’s case is Mr Devaney had attended at the Lighthouse Casino and anyone who signed in early got an extra chip.

At 7.30pm he was the first person to sign in and Mr Owens said the jury would see him using mobile phone in vicinity of the casino.

Counsel said at 7.56pm he picked her up and it is the prosecution’s case he murdered her at Annagorta Bog.

The court heard he arrived back to the card player’s club before nine o’ clock. He was agitated and discommoded and had scuff marks on shirt and said “he was obliged to pull somebody out of a bog.”

On Tuesday the 15th of February Mr Devaney made contact with Alan Kavanagh who was manager of The Lighthouse.

Mr Kavanagh will give evidence that Mr Devaney indicated he was associated with Ms Greene. He told him he killed her and that she was blackmailing her, Mr Owens told the court.

He was arrested on the 22nd of February and disclosed where the body was. Her remains were found the next day her clothes had been taken off her.

The State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy will give evidence the cause of death was five or six very deep stab wounds to the left side of the chest which penetrated her lungs and heart causing her to die very quickly.

The trial continues this afternoon before a jury of six women and six men presided over by Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan.