Accused ‘caught deceased by throat’

A visitor to Cork City witnessed the man accused of murdering his girlfriend catching her by the throat and shouting at her in Cork City on Saturday afternoon before she was found dead early on Sunday morning in a squat.

The witness also saw the young woman standing by the river and talking about jumping in, Ms Justice Eileen Creedon and a jury of six men and six women were told at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.

Adam O’Keeffe , aged 27, of St Vincent’s hostel, Anglesea Terrace, Cork, admitted manslaughter but pleaded not guilty to the murder of Amy McCarthy, 22, on April 29, 2017, or April 30, 2017, at 36 Sheares Street, Cork City.

A number of people who were in Cork City on that Saturday afternoon gave evidence of witnessing the accused and the deceased together at various locations.

Maura Cahill from Kerry was on a weekend visit to friends in Cork and was staying at the Metropole hotel. That afternoon she saw the couple arguing on St Patrick’s Bridge.

“The next thing he lunged at her and caught her by the throat. He had his head on top of her head. This was on the footpath. She asked him to get out of her face,” she testified.

Ms Cahill said the young woman grabbed the side of the bridge and said, “I feel like doing it,” and the man said, “Go ahead and fucking do it.”

Another man who was present with them on a bicycle was head-butted by the man who made that comment.

The man in the altercation with the woman then walked down towards St Patrick’s Street and the young woman followed him.

Ms Cahill said about her own experience of what she saw: “We were going to go out for a meal that evening but I did not go out of the hotel that evening. I was too afraid.” Ms Cahill later saw a photograph of the late Amy McCarthy in a newspaper and she said to herself, “Oh my God, that is the girl.”

Brendan Grehan defence senior counsel referred to Ms Cahill’s written statement to gardaí where she described the young man as being “in a rage like a caged animal. He seemed to be out of control”. Mr Grehan suggested that Ms Cahill’s impression was that the young woman was going to jump in the river. She agreed. Asked if her impression was that Adam O’Keeffe was out of control, she replied, “100%.”

Kathy Foley Rahilly met the accused and the deceased whom she knew. She thought Adam was very angry. She said she asked Amy if she was alright. “She nodded and said she was,” the witness said.

Later in the afternoon, Garda Keith Cahill was the observer in a patrol car and he saw the couple and two unidentified men sitting outside a café on Bachelor’s Quay, Cork, before 6pm. “There was no agro, everything seemed to be OK,” Garda Cahill said.

Similarly, Joe Long who was working at Fine Wines off-licence on Washington Street said the accused and the deceased bought six cans of cider, a naggin of vodka and two miniature vodkas and there was no difficulty with them.

Sergeant Adrian Healy met Adam O’Keeffe and two other men after they had gone to the Mercy University hospital to get assistance at the scene where Amy McCarthy was dead on the first floor of a house used as a squat on Sheares Street.

Adam O’Keeffe told Sgt Healy about the argument the previous afternoon and told him Amy said, “I don’t want to be here no more. I deserve a better life.”

O’Keeffe said the man with him on the bicycle wanted him to come on and leave. The accused said that he said to the man, “Look at my beoir (girlfriend),” and then hit the man. He said sorry to him straight away.

The accused said they went to St Vincent’s hostel, got some money and bought drink at Fine Wines and that Amy drank two naggins of vodka.

He told the sergeant they had been drinking on the second floor of the squat on the Saturday night and when Amy went away he went looking for her and found her lying on the first floor so he put blankets on her. He said she was blue and that one of the other men said she was dead.

He said to the sergeant he didn’t know how she had two black eyes but she was not in any fight. He said the only reason he asked another guard if her neck was broken was because she had bruising on her neck.

The case continues on Monday, July 16.

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