Clare woman denies money as motivate to 'hire hitman'

A Clare woman accused of hiring a hitman to kill her partner and his two sons denied that she was motivated by money a jury at the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Ms Sharon Collins (aged 45), with an address at Ballybeg House, Kildysart Road and Mr Essam Eid (aged 52), an Egyptian man with a Las Vegas address Ennis have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to kill PJ, Robert and Niall Howard between August 1 2006 and September 26 2006. Ms Collins also denies hiring Mr Eid to kill the three men.

Mr Eid denies demanding €100,000 from Mr Robert Howard to cancel the contracts. He also denies breaking into the Howard family business at Westgate Business Park and stealing two computers, some computer cables, a digital clock and a poster of old Irish money and then handling the stolen items.

In an interview on June 26 2007 Sharon Collins told gardai “money does not float my boat at all.”

Detective Sergeant Michael Moloney told Ms Una Ni Raifeartaigh BL, prosecuting, Ms Collins denied that she would use a Mexican marriage certificate obtained over the Internet to claim the Howards’ money when her partner P.J and his two sons Robert and Niall were dead.

She told gardaí that the wedding certificate had not looked genuine.

“I haven’t the certificate. I burnt it. I wish I kept it. If you saw it you would see it was not authentic, not at all.”

She said Robert and Niall didn’t like the idea of Mr Howard becoming engaged to her.

“There was a great deal of dissatisfaction in the camp with Niall and Robert when P.J and I came out and got engaged.”

Ms Collins claimed that it was this reaction that had spurred her into paying over €1,000 for a proxy marriage over the Internet. “It was just an act of defiance on my behalf, a private one.”

She claimed that she had told Mr Howard about the proxy marriage although he told gardaí he knew nothing about it. “PJ is very straight and if PJ would say I never heard that when He knew that he did you must have done one hell of a job on him.”

She said she would signed a pre nuptial agreement if they had been legally binding in Ireland and said she would have been happy with “just a church wedding.”

Detective Garda Brendan Rouine told Ms Ni Raifeartaigh that Ms Collins claimed her writing mentor Maria Marconi did exist despite the fact that gardai had failed to find proof of her existence.

She claimed she had kept copies of material she had produced in writing exercises on a disc but had not kept it when she stopped writing.

“You haven’t found her. I know she exists.”

She denied she despised it when PJ asked her to have sex with other men. “That hasn’t been a problem at all since.” She said she did not despise Mr Howard. “Anybody who knows me knows that I don’t and I don’t do good acting. I’m bad at it.”

The trial will continue tomorrow before Mr Justice Roderick Murphy and the jury of eight men and four women.

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