A Kildare lorry driver was jailed for life today after he admitted strangling his estranged wife at his mobile home after a day long drinking session.
Noel Coyne (aged 44), of Station Road, Allenwood, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the murder of his wife Mrs Carmel Coyne (aged 38), a mother of four and native of Edenderry, Co Offaly, in Co Kildare between August 11 and 12, 2002.
Mr Justice Paul Carney told Coyne that the penalty was mandatory and he sentenced him to life imprisonment from the date of his arrest on August 12, 2002.
Coyne's daughter Stacey Coyne (aged 22) kissed her father as she left the witness box after telling the judge: "I am devastated by the loss of my mother. It's hard having no one around.''
Another daughter, Karen, (aged 20) said she and her sisters visit their father in prison every second Saturday and keep in contact with him.
She told prosecuting counsel Mr Paul Greene BL: "It wouldn't have happened if there wasn't drink involved.'' Miss Coyne added: "We know he is really sorry for what he did and it would never have happened except for drink.''
Sergeant Edward Relihan, Kildare town, told the court that gardaí received a 999 call from Coyne who told them he had killed his wife. He gave gardaí his address and mobile phone number and they went to the scene.
Sgt Relihan said that although Coyne had consumed alcohol he was in a coherent state. Coyne pointed out a woman lying face up on the bed, who was his wife.
Coyne made a full admission to gardaí, in which he said that on August 11 he and his estranged wife had gone drinking in Sallins.
They returned to the caravan and consumed more drink. Coyne said there was "a bit of an argument" and Mrs Coyne left to go home. He followed her and brought her back to the caravan and they continued drinking.
Mrs Coyne went to bed and Mr Coyne went and carried out the act of killing her. The following day he continued drinking and eventually reported the killing to the gardaí, he added.
Sgt Relihan said that Coyne was a lorry driver and had left the family home in Edenderry six months before the killing.
Cross-examined by defence counsel Mr Roddy O' Hanlon SC , Sgt Relihan agreed that it appeared that Mrs Coyne had left the caravan to go home but had missed her bus and telephoned Coyne who brought her back to the caravan.
He also agreed that the medical evidence was that Mrs Coyne had been stangled but there was no sign of any struggle, and death appeared to have been very fast. He also agreed that Mrs Coyne had developed a chronic alcohol problem after her sister's suicide.