Woman and man charged with murder after Bandon death

A man and woman have been charged with murdering a young father-of-one in Bandon, near where an Englishman has also been found killed.

Woman and man charged with murder after Bandon death

A man and woman have been charged with murdering a young father-of-one in Bandon, near where an Englishman has also been found killed.

Jonathan Duke, 27, was beaten and his body dumped in the River Bandon, Co Cork, on Sunday night.

Ciprian Grozavu, 37, originally from Romania, and Catherine O’Connor, 35, originally from Kinsale, Co Cork, both with an address at Bridge House, Bandon have been charged with murdering Mr Duke.

They both appeared before Judge James McNulty at a special sitting of Bandon District Court tonight, where evidence was given of their arrest and charging at Bandon garda station.

Det Garda Michael Brosnan said that when charged with murder 35-year-old O'Connor replied: "No".

Garda Kieran Murphy said when similarly charged, 37-year-old Grozavu replied: "I didn't do it".

The two defendants sat quietly through the short hearing tonight after being brought into the court by a large contingent of gardaí.

Ms O'Connor, who was dressed all in black, has a distinctive cross tattooed onto her left cheek. Mr Grozavu was also dressed in black, in a v-necked jumper, pants and brown shoes.

His solicitor Macaire Adams said he was unemployed and free legal aid was granted by Judge McNulty.

Lawyer defending O'Connor Eddie Burke was also granted free legal aid in respect of his client whom he said was receiving a disability allowance for several years.

He said she was on medication and asked the judge to inform the Limerick prison authorities that she would need her medicines. He also asked that she would be psychiatrically assessed "as there would be a history of this with her".

Supt Eddie MacEoin asked that both defendants be remanded in custody and Judge McNulty remanded them both in custody to appear before Bandon District Court on Monday next.

Outside the courthouse a crowd of morethan 300 people gathered to watch the defendants being brought into and out of the building.

A clip from outside the courthouse tonight

Clip captured by Conor Hallahan

Within hours of the discovery of Mr Duke's body, detectives feared John Forrester, originally from the UK, was also dead.

Mr Duke, a local man, had been drinking in a flat in the same building where Mr Forrester had been living before he was attacked.

Mr Forrester, aged in his 40s and living in Ireland for many years, was found dead in the river less than a mile from where Mr Duke was found. He (Mr Forrester) was last seen alive on Saturday night.

The alarm was raised on Sunday night when a passer-by reported two people appearing to dump a body in the river. Gardaí recovered Mr Duke’s body a short while after the alarm was raised at 11pm.

It is believed there had been a drinking session at the flats, known locally as the O’Callaghan flats, over the weekend.

Bandon Mayor Sean O’Donovan said: “The occurrence of such a tragedy has sent shockwaves through the town but I am confident that the people of Bandon will rally together and give support where needed.”

About 40 officers were drafted in to support the double murder investigation including the Garda Dive Team, two forensic units from Dublin and local detectives.

Mr Duke escaped death in June 2009 when he fell from a window in the same block of flats where his murder suspects had been living. He was in hospital for six months.

An out-of-work labourer, he had a seven-year-old daughter.

His mother Michelle and three sisters are said to be devastated by his death. It is understood his mother was working in the Ho Kee Chinese restaurant just feet away from where her son's body was being recovered from the river, unaware of what was unfolding.

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