Murder accused ‘laughed hysterically’

The woman accused of murdering a man in Bandon was laughing hysterically in the Garda station holding cell within hours of her arrest, the last prosecution witness in her trial testified yesterday.

Catherine O’Connor, aged 37, of Bridge House, Sean Hales Place, Bandon, Co Cork, is on trial before Mr Justice Paul Carney and a jury at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.

She denies a charge of murdering Jonathan Duke, aged 27, at Bridge House on Nov 13, 2011.

Doctor Lynton Wilkinson visited Bandon Garda Station to carry out a medical examination of the accused on the morning of Nov 13.

Tim O’Leary, prosecuting, did not ask the doctor any questions but offered the witness for cross-examination by the defence.

Isobel Kennedy, defending, asked the doctor if he had arrived at the Garda station in the early hours of that morning. The witness replied that he arrived at 2.30am and said the accused had previously taken sedatives and painkillers and she told him she had taken magic mushrooms.

Ms Kennedy put it to the doctor that he saw that O’Connor’s pupils were dilated. He qualified this by saying he thought they were dilated because the defendant would not allow him to carry out an examination.

Ms Kennedy then put it to the witness: “She was laughing hysterically.”

Dr Wilkinson agreed and said that she was laughing excitedly.

Other evidence given in the trial yesterday included a written statement from a sister of the late Mr Duke, Nicole Duke, about a phone call on the night of her brother’s death.

“At 11.40 on Nov 13, 2011, my mother sent me a text to say Chippy had thrown somebody in the river, and she [her mother] was with Shane O’Driscoll in the Ho Key [Chinese takeaway].

“My sister Cindy rang my mother’s phone and I think it was Shane O’Driscoll answered. I could hear Shane O’Driscoll. [He said] I don’t mean to worry you but Chippy threw someone in the river and I think it’s your brother, because I saw a bald head.

“He said he was looking out the window when he saw both Chippy and Catherine throw Jonathan over the railing into the river,” Nicole Duke said in a written statement.

The prosecution closed its case yesterday.

At that stage Mr Justice Carney told the jury that all of the evidence in the trial had concluded and that the closing speeches would be made by the prosecution and defence today.

The judge will also address the jury and he indicated to them that he would not send them out to commence their deliberations until Tuesday.


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