Victim 'had not been wearing wedding ring,' murder trial hears

A woman, whose husband is on trial for her murder, was not wearing her wedding ring a week before her death, a witness has told a jury in the Central Criminal Court.

A woman, whose husband is on trial for her murder, was not wearing her wedding ring a week before her death, a witness has told a jury in the Central Criminal Court.

Brian Kearney, aged 50, with an address at Carnroe, Knocknashee, Goatstown, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife Siobhan Kearney, aged 38, on February 28, 2006 - his 49th birthday.

Ms Carol Summers told prosecuting counsel, Mr Denis Vaughan Buckley, that she had been friends with Siobhan for about 20 years.

Ms Summers said she was living in Scotland in 2006, but had been home for a visit and had met up with Siobhan on February 21 at Pebloes Wine Bar on Stephen's Green.

"She was in great form but she was missing her wedding rings." Ms Summers said she assumed that Ms Kearney had just left the rings off.

She said she was aware that Siobhan was having marital difficulties and rang her on February 27, the day before her death, to see how she was. She said she told her that she was coming back to Dublin for the Ireland v Scotland match on March 11.

They arranged to meet up before or after the match. "She was in good form. Very strong, very positive and we talked about plans for the future and things in general as well as the difficulties she was going through."

The jury also heard evidence from family friend, Sergeant Charlie McConalogue who told Mr Vaughan Buckley he received a phone call from Ms Kearney's sister, Brighid McLaughlin, telling him what had happened.

He arrived at Siobhan's house at around 12 o'clock and told the gardaí at the scene who he was.

He went upstairs and formally identified the body, then went downstairs to the kitchen where the McLaughlin family had gathered.

"There was great devastation in that kitchen. People were hugging and embracing."

He said he then went into the front room where Brian Kearney was sitting in a chair having his head and neck massaged by his sister and he appeared to be hyperventilating.

"He was going back and forward in a rocking motion and he was saying 'Oh my God, Oh my God. I offered my hand to him and I offered my condolences and said I was sorry for his trouble."

Sgt McConalogue told Mr Vaughan Buckley that he told Mr Kearney that the gardaí wanted to speak to him upstairs.

"He got out of the chair and he said to me 'Charlie, Charlie, will I be fit to go through with it' and I said the detectives only want to speak to you."

He said that some time later, Brian Kearney came up to him. "He says 'Charlie can I go now?' I replied back to him 'I think nobody can leave this house, including me'."

"He came back then with a question for me and he said 'Charlie, will the detectives want my clothes?'"

Sgt McConalogue said he was taken aback by this and told the gardaí at the scene.

He said he went with the McLaughlin's to the nearby Goat Pub while the gardaí and ambulance personnel finished their work. "The sole purpose of waiting in the Goat was that we could go back and say holy prayers."

He said he soon received a call to say that the family could return to the house. When they arrived the coffin was resting on two chairs inside the front door. "A decade of the rosary was recited by Siobhan's mother and everyone was present."

Sgt McConalogue told Mr Patrick Gageby, defending, that Mr Kearney's brother was asked to leave when he went into the kitchen to fill a kettle.

"He was asked by Aisling McLaughlin to please leave the room and give the family some privacy as there was great devastation in that room."

"There was a lot of anger in that room and also great sadness and people that were extremely upset."

He said he did not know if there was a bedroom downstairs where Mr Kearney could have changed his clothes or whether he would have had to change in the bedroom where his wife's body lay.

The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice White and the jury of eight women and four men.

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