Murder trial hears of accused's text threats to ex

A man charged with murdering the mother of his unborn son threatened to smash a phone over her head a couple of weeks before she died, his trial has heard.

Murder trial hears of accused's text threats to ex

A man charged with murdering the mother of his unborn son threatened to smash a phone over her head a couple of weeks before she died, his trial has heard.

Mother-of-four Jean Teresa Quigley was found dead in her home in Cornshell Fields, Shantallow, Derry on Saturday July 26, 2008. The 30-year-old, who was 10 weeks' pregnant, had been strangled.

Stephen Cahoon of Harvey Street, Derry admits killing his ex-girlfriend but has pleaded not guilty to murder. The father-of-one went missing after her killing but was arrested in Donegal 10 days later, after using a bank machine there.

Forensic scientist Kieran Doohan examined a number of mobile phones and sim cards found in the homes of both Ms Quigley and the defendant. He also examined their mobile phone records.

He told the court today of a message from the defendant found on a phone in the victim’s home.

“You better not be up there texting anybody about me or I’ll go up and smash that f***ing phone over your head,” wrote Stephen Cahoon at 6.12pm on July 11, 2008.

Mr Doohan confirmed that he found a reply to this message on a phone seized from the defendant’s flat.

“What the f**k is your problem? Less of the threats please,” wrote Ms Quigley about half an hour later.

The court heard that the accused texted Ms Quigley again at 3am the following morning.

“Why is your phone off and why did I hear you only got pregnant to me to get back at someone else?” he asked.

The jury had already heard that he was at a party in a friend’s house when he sent the latter message. Ms Quigley had not gone with him as they had been fighting.

Mr Doohan also explained that Stephen Cahoon’s phone made a number of calls between midnight and 6am on the day Ms Quigley died.

He confirmed evidence from previous witnesses that he called a taxi from the city centre around 2am and that he called a taxi from Shantallow shortly after 6am.

He also explained that at 4.42am and 4.46am he called a number, whose sim card was found in Ms Quigley’s house, unattached to any phone.

The jury heard earlier from Sergeant Desmond Sheridan of Ballyshannon Garda Station. He explained that in the days after Ms Quigley’s killing, gardaí were aware that Stephen Cahoon was a suspect.

He said that on the evening of August 5 that year, he became aware that the accused had used an ATM that day in Donegal Town.

He and a colleague searched the hotels, guest houses and bars in the town and eventually saw a man matching the suspect’s description on the street that evening.

Sgt Sheridan approached the man, saying: ‘Hello Stephen’.

“He appeared shocked,” recalled the sergeant, who said he then took out his garda badge.

He said the man gave his name as Paul Moore and address as Strand Road, Galway. He had no identification on him and agreed to accompany the gardaí to the station to verify this.

However, he came clean within seconds of getting into the patrol car.

“I’m the man you’re looking for,” he said.

He was later hospitalised after he told gardaí he had taken a number of paracetamol tablets, while two ties, tied together, were found in his jacket.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Barry White and a jury of seven women and five men.

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