Murder trial of retired member of defence forces to resume deliberations tomorrow

Jimmy Devaney
Jimmy Devaney

The trial of a retired member of defence forces accused of murdering a prostitute in Co.Westmeath four years ago will resume its deliberations tomorrow.

Father-of-three Jimmy Devaney (67) of Millbrook Avenue, Monksland, Athlone has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Marie Greene in Westmeath on February 13, 2011.

The court has heard that Marie Greene, who was working as a prostitute, was last seen alive on the evening on February 13, 2011 and her body was discovered nine days later in Anagorta Bog outside Athlone.

It is the State’s case that Mr Devaney murdered Marie Greene because she had been blackmailing him for money or she would tell his wife.

The accused told Gardai that he met up with her and drove out to Anagorta Bog near Ballykieran to talk to her but she was threatening to get her brothers after him.

He said that she had blackmailed him for up to 15 years and that he had given her up to 40,000 euro and 20,000 in the previous six months.

In an interview he said that he stabbed her several times because he lost control but that she had bought the knife to the scene. Mr Devaney told Gardai he lost control during a struggle and “just kept stabbing” her.

However his brother-in-law Peter Boardman gave evidence via videolink from the UK during the trial that he brought a number of knives to Ireland he had used in his trade as a butcher and left them at Mr Devaney’s house.

Yesterday,  Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan told the jury that provocation could reduce murder to manslaughter. The judge said the jury could find him not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter if they believed he was provoked.

The judge noted that in an interview on February 21 the accused said he had been through 15 years of blackmail. 

She said it was the prosecution’s case that he murdered her and brought a knife. She said if the evidence is not there then there is a reasonable doubt.

Ms Justice Heneghan said intent could be formed in seconds and does not have to be preplanned.

She told the jury that to avail of a defence of provocation he must have suffered a sudden and temporary loss of self control without time for passion to cool.

They could return a verdict of not guilty of murder but she said that would not be in accordance with the evidence as Mr Devaney admitted killing her in interviews with Gardai.

Ms Justice Heneghan asked them to consider the evidence of of State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy about the injuries to the body.

Earlier Giollaiosa O’ Lideadha SC defending told the jury the onus was on the prosecution to prove that there was no defence of provocation in the case. 

Counsel said no case of self-defence being put forward. He said the prosecution's case depended on that there being a plan and the jury must look at the issue of loss of control. 

He asked the jury to look at the evidence of State Pathologist Marie Cassidy. 

Mr O’ Lideadha said it was consistent with a loss of control as the accused said he just kept stabbing her. 

Counsel said he may have intended to kill or cause serious injury but was not the master of his own mind.

The jury of six women and five men has now been deliberating for one hour and fifteen minutes and will resume its deliberations today/tomorrow.