Gardaí: Accused had blood on hands and feet

The woman accused of murdering a man in Bandon was found by gardaí with blood on her hands and feet and she told officers she had taken magic mushrooms, the jury was told yesterday.

Gardaí: Accused had blood on hands and feet

Catherine O’Connor, 37, of Bridge House, Sean Hales Place, Bandon, Co Cork, is on trial before Mr Justice Paul Carney and a jury of eight women and four men on a charge of murdering Jonathan Duke, 27, at Bridge House on Nov 13, 2011.

Gardaí said O’Connor was shouting and was abusive and agitated when they met her at her flat in a black T-shirt and white underwear.

Officers had followed a trail of blood from the front door of the building, Bridge House, to Flat 3 on the top floor of the property. There was a lot of blood on the floor of the flat. This was moments after a 999 call from a witness about a body being thrown over a railing. Shortly after this, they found the body of Jonathan Duke in the river with a white electrical cable around his neck. A plug was attached to the cable.

Garda Kieran Murphy said the door of the building was unlocked and it was dark inside. He pushed the door open, shone his torch in and saw blood: “There was a big streak of blood leading from the doorway. I entered Bridge House. I continued to find blood streaks with the torch. I began to go up the stairs. There was some more blood.

“I heard some steps above me when I was a couple of steps up the stairs. I did not see anyone above me. I shouted, ‘I am a member of An Garda Síochána’. The footsteps quickened into a room. In response I ran up. I was trying to avoid the blood in front of me. There was blood on the ground, on the walls, on the landing.”

The door was opened to Flat 3 after some moments of Grda Murphy banging and kicking the door and announcing himself as a garda. A man whom he knew opened the door.

The man was wearing a dark blue robe and nothing underneath. The woman was lying on the couch.

“Blood was concentrated in the centre of the room around a coffee table. A towel was surrounded by blood,” he said.

Grda Murphy said the woman, Catherine O’Connor, interfered with his conversation with the man and she was abusive and animated and had drink taken.

“I could see she had blood on her hands,” Grda Murphy said.

The man told him, after initially lying, the blood was Dukie’s, referring to the deceased Jonathan Duke.

Garda Ray Ryan was at the scene in the flat also and he testified: “I noticed she had drink taken. I also noticed she had blood on her hands and on her feet.”

Defence senior counsel, Isobel Kennedy, said, “Catherine O’Connor told you she had been taking a number of substances. She said she had been taking magic mushrooms.”

Grda Ryan confirmed the accused said this to gardaí.

Garda Áine O’Regan said the dead body of Jonathan Duke was found in the river under Bandon Bridge at around this time.

The trial will continue on Tues, Jul 9.

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