Accused begged DPP to drop case

A WOMAN accused of hiring a hitman to kill her partner and his two sons wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions asking him to drop the case against her for the good of her family, a jury at the Central Criminal Court has heard.

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

Eid denies demanding €100,000 from 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 the letters, sent in March, April and May of 2007, Collins pleaded for the case against her to be dropped because a trial would destroy her family.

In a letter dated May 25, 2007, Collins expressed concern for her younger son David. She said that he was a “casualty” of the allegations against her and she was concerned that he would commit suicide if the stress got too much.

Collins said she had considered suicide herself. She wrote, in a letter dated April 28, 2007, after reading newspaper reports on the discovery of ricin in her co-accused’s cell,

“I have never experienced such depths of despair in my life,” she wrote.

In the letters Collins wrote that she had never plotted to kill her partner, PJ Howard and his two sons Robert and Niall. She said that the allegations against her were in danger of destroying her family. She said: “I am an ordinary woman living an ordinary life with which I was happy before this happened.”

She said that, despite the fact she had been accused of trying to kill both him and his sons, PJ had stood by her, even arguing with his sons over the matter.

However, she said that, because he would need his sons’ support if the case ever came to trial, she had moved out of the house they shared and was staying with friends whenever she was in Ireland.

She repeated what she had told gardaí: that she would lose everything if PJ died and insisted that even if Robert and Niall also died, PJ’s money and property would go to his brother and sister rather than her.

She said that David had continued living in Ballybeg House and only had PJ to confide in as he could not talk to her. But she said that PJ’s son Robert had asked him to move out against his father’s wishes, while PJ and Collins were in Spain.

Collins said she had no possible reason to want PJ dead because he looked after her, and as a cohabitee, she would be entitled to nothing after his death.

She asked for the case against her to be dropped. “If I am charged my relationship with PJ will be over.” She said she would lose both her home and her family.

She wrote “I am in danger of sounding like I am protesting too much”, but felt that she needed to make her own case to the DPP.

She said that while on holiday in Agadir, in Morocco, she had started writing about her situation. “Maybe I will write the book out.” She said she had tried to put herself in a killing state of mind to work out how she would commit the charges she was accused of. “Basically I think a five-year-old would have covered their tracks better.”


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