Catherine O’Connor of Bridge House, Sean Hales Place, Bandon, Co Cork, is charged with the murder of Jonathan Duke, 27, at Bridge House on Nov 13, 2011. She was arraigned at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork yesterday and pleaded not guilty to the single count on the indictment.
Prosecution senior counsel, Tim O’Leary, outlined the anticipated evidence to come in the trial before Mr Justice Paul Carney and a jury of four men and eight women but stressed that the outline did not itself constitute evidence.
He said gardaí received a phone call made from a nearby pub by two men who lived at Bridge House and that soon afterwards Garda Kieran Murphy arrived at Bridge House where there are three apartments, one on each floor.
“He entered the apartment building. There was blood in the entrance hallway as he went in. He went up to Flat 3 at the top of the house. Before he got to the top of the house he became aware of an individual running into the flat. Ultimately, after a period of time that Flat 3 door is opened and one of the two people in the flat is the accused, Ms O’Connor.
“Thereafter, not long after, the gardaí became aware that a body was found in the Bandon River... That body found in the river is dead. You will hear the body was bound up and various ligatures tied around the neck area of Mr Duke,” Mr O’Leary said.
He also said it was anticipated that the men who made the phone call to gardaí would say that they were at home in bed when they heard banging.
“They heard banging that they thought was rubbish being dragged down stairs, thump-thump down the steps of the stairs.
“Having heard the bang, bang, bang noise and commotion they saw Ms O’Connor and another person throw what appeared to be a body over the railings [outside the building]. Underneath the railings there is a pathway and the river,” Mr O’Leary said.
He told the jury they would hear that the cause of death was lack of oxygen caused by asphyxiation or strangulation, that the consumption of alcohol and drugs hastened death and the body of Mr Duke had more than 60 fresh wounds.
Mr O’Leary SC said there was an onus on the State to prove that not alone did the accused kill Mr Duke but that she intended to kill him or cause him serious harm.
Mr Justice Carney told the eight women and four men of the jury not to discuss the case with anyone and told them to return to court for the resumption of the trial today. The jurors were told that the trial could take up to three weeks.
One juror had to be discharged because of a connection to a party in the case that was not known when he was sworn in. A number of jury panellists were asked to return to court and one man was sworn in to replace him, delaying the commencement of the trial until late yesterday afternoon.