Cavan man who killed his wife to be sentenced next month

Oliver Kierans
Oliver Kierans

A Cavan man who was found not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of his wife, is due to be sentenced on April 20th.

Oliver Kierans (57) of Drumbannon Bailieborough in Cavan had pleaded not guilty to murdering Patricia Kierans (54) on September 5th, 2013 at the same address.

He was found guilty of the possession of a 12 gauge double barrel shotgun and guilty of possession with intent to endanger life by the jury last month.

The majority verdict of not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter was reached after more than fifteen hours of deliberations. 

Taking to the stand today Detective Sergeant Anne Marie Lardner told Michael O'Higgins SC, prosecuting, that she had been a member of the investigating team in September 2013. 

"The background is that the accused and the deceased were married 33 years with four children including three boys and a girl," said Mr O'Higgins.

"The Kierans had experienced in spring 2013 unhappy differences that build up to Pat Kierans leaving. She moved in with her sister in Cavan and spent the summer months living there," he confirmed.

"He (Oliver Kierans) went on the dry for the summer. Over the course of the summer Mrs Kierans did not have contact with Oliver and was of the opinion that the relationship had run its course. She started a relationship with someone else," he said.

"He went back on the drink on the Sunday with a vengeance. There were a number of text messages asking her to reconsider. He received a reply in which Patricia said the relationship was over because she didn't want further contact from him."

The court heard that the firearm was a double barrel shotgun which was modified and that Patricia had gone to the family home with Oliver in her car on September 5th. 

"Mr Kierans gave evidence that he formed an intention to commit suicide - he picked up the firearm and it went off. She fell to the floor and death would have been very rapid," said Mr O'Higgins.

Detective Lardner confirmed that Mrs Kierans died sometime before noon.

The court heard that Oliver Kierans then went to the Square Bar in Bailieborough where he pointed the same shotgun at Garda Tommy Fay. 

Following his arrest, the court heard he was then brought to Cavan General Hospital where he remained for two days. 

In a victim impact statement read to the court by defence counsel Anthony Sammon SC, Patricia Kierans was described by her children as "one of a kind".

"Mammy was a one of a kind mother. She dedicated life to look after granny and grandad and her brother," read Mr Sammon.

"She had a special love for Irish dancing - our house was a happy house. Every Sunday Mammy would bring us to mass - we have sadly lost our mother in this tragedy and are losing our father now."

"In tragic circumstances there are no winners, just a lot of hurt people," he concluded.

Mr Sammon read from a second victim impact statement written by the brother and sisters of Patricia Kierans.

"We all know Pat was a wonderful mother, sister, aunt. When we heard this terrible news, it put us into a terrible hole," he read.

"We will never forget our Pat. We remember her big blue eyes, her laugh. If there are stars in heaven, she is the brightest one."

Letters were read to the court from all four of the Kierans children as well as Olivers sister Magella.

A letter from Shane Kierans read: 'We have lost a wonderful mother, our kids a grandmother and my father a wife. My father is the only grandparent my kids have alive - I don't think prison is a place to bring children so I keep telling them he is in hospital. They keep asking when he will be home'.

Oliver Kierans junior wrote: 'I would like to point out that Dad would never in a million years have hit my Mam. I understand Dad has to do his time in prison. If he dies in prison I don't know what I will do - it will tear me apart even further'.

The letter concluded: 'I know mother wouldn't want to see the grandchildren suffer - my Dad is a good man who loves Mam. This will effect us all for rest of our lives - we need contact with him and to have him in our lives and hope there are many more moments we can have with my father'.

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly said that sentencing would take place on April 20th.