A Cork man accused of murder told detectives how he and his co-accused stormed a neighbour’s flat wearing pink and yellow rubber gloves and pillowcases and towels on their heads before she was murdered, a jury heard at the Central Criminal court today.
Detective Sergeant John Quilter was recalling his notes made during an interview with one of the accused, Mr Thomas Penkert (aged 20) on 18 July 2002, three days after the murder of Ms Nora Kiely (aged 46).
“They were wearing stolen pink and yellow rubber gloves. He said Brian Walsh had a pink pillowcase around his face and he had a towel over his head” said Det Sgt Quilter.
“Brian Walsh knocked on her door, she opened it and he stormed in. She said ‘I know who ye are’ and he said ‘you’ll forget about it soon anyway’” he added.
Mr Walsh allegedly put one hand over Ms Kiely’s mouth and one hand on her neck before he pushed her onto the bed, according to the detective.
Mr Penkert also alleged that Mr Walsh had “said that he was going to kill Nora Kiely beforehand”, Det. Sgt Quilter told the jury.
Both Mr Penkert and Mr Brian Walsh (aged 24) have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ms Kiely at her Leitrim St flat in Cork city centre on 15 July 2002. However both men have admitted robbing Ms Kiely of less than €20 in cash and two items of jewellry.
Det. Sgt Quilter said Mr Penkert had put his head in his hands and told gardaí that he’d tell them “everything about Nora” on 18 July.
“He proceeded then to tell us that he was present when Nora Kiely was murdered but that he had nothing to do with the murder. He told how Nora was strangled and about cleaning up the flat when she was murdered” the Det. Sgt said.
“He told how he had broken into a number of flats beforehand” he said.
When Ms Kiely was pushed onto the bed, Mr Walsh cut her neck and wrists and “stuff came out her mouth” according to Mr Penkert’s statement to gardaí.
Ms Kiely was found dead on her bed, naked from the waist down by gardaí, allegedly strangled with an electric cable. Dr Marie Cassidy said she had died from forceful compression of her neck and added that marks on her body were “highly suggestive” of an attempted sexual assault.
Earlier, forensic scientist Mr Stephen Doak confirmed for the court that he had found “traces of semen” on Ms Kiely’s clothing and duvet and on one rectal swab taken from her body. Dr Maureen Smyth of the Garda DNA unit later said that the DNA test on the rectal swab was “imprecise”:
“actually it did detect DNA but I was unable to get a profile from it so I can’t say whose DNA it is” she said.
Det. Sgt Quilter told the jury Mr Penkert spoke of an earlier incident with Mr Donal Scannell - another resident of the Leitrim St building - for which the two men are charged with theft. Mr Penkert allegedly told gardaí Mr Scannell was playing music which was “wrecking Brian’s head” and Brian was “going to tie him up and leave him there”.
“He (Brian) demanded money first, Donal said he had no money, Brian went for him,” Det. Sgt Quilter read out.
“Brian tried to choke him, he only did it a short while. Brian Walsh had the flex around him,” he added.
Mr Walsh then allegedly took €70 from under a blanket in Mr Scannell’s flat and told him “keep the music down in future and we’ll forget about it”.
Both men have pleaded not guilty to robbing Mr Scannell of less than €70 in cash between 8-14 July 2002. But they have pleaded guilty to stealing a blue-handled knife, a tub of butter, some groceries and drinks and a phone charger from another resident, Ms Teresa Tatton.
The trial continues before Mr Justice Diarmuid O’Donovan tomorrow.