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Stabbing Cork woman denies brother's murder as court hears of 'bad blood' over property dispute

Paul Jones (55) was discovered lying dead in his home with 25 stab wounds

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Helen Jones

Helen Jones

Helen Jones

A woman involved in a protracted property dispute with her brother has denied his murder after he was discovered lying dead in his home with 25 stab wounds.

Helen Jones (53) and her boyfriend, Keith O'Hara (43), pleaded not guilty before the Central Criminal Court to the murder of Paul Jones (55) on September 4 2019.

Both deny the murder of Mr Jones whose body was found in a house on the Bandon Road in Cork on September 7 2019.

Ms Jones of Cahergal Avenue, Mayfield, Cork also denied a charge of aggravated burglary at 108 Bandon Road on September 4.

Mr O'Hara of Cahergal Avenue, Mayfield, Cork denied a charge of burglary at the same address and date.

In opening the State's case before Mr Justice Michael McGrath and a jury of seven men and five women, Siobhan Lankford SC said it is their argument that there was "bad blood" over a property dispute which had been underway between Ms Jones and two of her brothers, Paul and Liam, involving the fate of the family home where she resided.

Ms Lankford said the State will introduce evidence that a bill hook or machete was found near the scene of Mr Jones's death with the blood of the deceased on the blade and the DNA of Mr O'Hara on the handle.

A post mortem examination conducted on Mr Jones found that he had sustained 25 stab wounds to the torso and a deep, chop-like wound to the head.

She said the State will also introduce evidence showing that blood from the deceased was found on clothing later seized from both defendants by Gardai.

Ms Lankford said one taxi driver will say he brought both defendants to the property at 108 Bandon Road on the evening of September 4 - with several local witnesses seeing Ms Jones with a knife in her hand.

The taxi driver involved knew both Mr Jones and Ms Jones.

It will be claimed that Ms Jones banged repeatedly and aggressively on the door of her brother's home with the knife.

Ms Lankford said several witnesses will also offer evidence to the trial that both Ms Jones and Mr O'Hara were seen going into the property after the front door was opened by Mr Jones who was wearing only black boxer shorts.

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Paul Jones PIC: Provision

Paul Jones PIC: Provision

Paul Jones PIC: Provision

 

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She said another witness will offer testimony that a man was later seen lying on the floor of the property with a person standing over him.

A short time later, two people were seen in a very distressed condition in a nearby housing estate.

When a concerned local woman called a taxi for them, the contact number given for the collection was Keith O'Hara's mobile.

Both were later picked up by a taxi and brought to Cahergal Avenue - and the State said the second taxi driver will offer evidence he later discovered blood on the back seat of the taxi.

This blood was later found to be that of Mr O'Hara.

Ms Lankford said Ms Jones and Mr O'Hara were involved in a relationship and both resided at the time at Cahergal Avenue which was the Jones' family home.

However, after her father's death the property was left to her two brothers, Liam and Paul.

Legal action resulted but a compromise was reached in 2018 where Ms Jones would leave the property and, on its sale, she would receive a portion of the proceeds.

However, when auctioneer signs were placed on the property, a call was made to take them down.

"There was bad blood between the parties over this issue," she said.

Despite the compromise, the State will offer evidence that Ms Jones and Mr O'Hara were not happy about the situation at Cahergal Avenue.

Another witness will say they met both defendants.

"Ms Jones told her about this (property) dispute. Mr O'Hara (who was present) said the brother will pay or words to that effect."

"It is the State's case that Helen Jones had the motive for this offence. Mr O'Hara was living with her. He was supportive of her."

Ms Lankford said Mr Jones' blood was also found on clothing seized from the defendants.

On September 5, Ms Jones had given a bag of clothing to a friend and asker her to wash it.

Gardai later seized clothing from both defendants.

"Forensic Science Ireland found that clothing seized from both co-defendants had on it the blood of the deceased."

Mr Jones' son, received a contact from his aunt, Helen Jones, looking for his father's telephone number on September 5.

He was subsequently unable to contact his father on September 5 and 6.

He contacted his aunt and asked her why she had wanted his father's telephone number.

He was worried about his father and went to 108 Bandon Road with Rebecca McNulty and Attracta O'Neill.

There was no answer to the door and they were unable to gain access to the property.

They asked for assistance and, when the door was pushed in, a body was found on the interior floor with Gardai immediately called.

Mr Justice Michael McGrath advised that the case could last between three and four weeks given that over 150 witnesses are due to be called.

Some witnesses are based as far away as the US.

The trial continues.

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