Book of evidence is still being prepared in Doneraile case

Man charged with murder of Mary O'Keeffe appeared at Cork District Court today by video link from prison
Book of evidence is still being prepared in Doneraile case

The road into the woods at Dromdeer East, Doneraile, Co Cork, where the body of Mary O’Keeffe was found in a burnt-out car on February 4. Picture: Dan Linehan

A book of evidence is still being prepared in the case against the 62-year-old man accused of murdering pensioner, Mary O’Keeffe, whose body was found in a burning car in Doneraile last month.

Michael Leonard, of Hillcrest, Glenosheen, Kilmallock, Co Limerick, appeared today at Cork District Court by video link from prison.

His solicitor, Kevin Power, was present in court for the brief hearing.

Sergeant Gearóid Davis said the matter had been adjourned for the preparation and service of a book of evidence. 

He said the book was not yet ready and he sought an extension of time to allow for this.

There was no defence objection to this application and Judge Olann Kelleher adjourned the case until April 16 for this purpose.

The accused man was not required to speak during the brief hearing and he was remanded in custody for the four-week period. 

Michael Leonard will appear again by video link from prison on the next occasion.

He is accused of murder contrary to common law on February 4 of 72-year-old Mary O’Keeffe at Dromdeer East, Doneraile, Co Cork.

Inspector Tony O’Sullivan originally charged him with the murder, and the accused made no reply when the charge was put to him under caution.

Medical assistance for Mr Leonard in prison was directed following his first court appearance. This assistance was to include psychological and physical assistance. A psychiatric assessment is also to be carried out on Mr Leonard at Cork Prison.

The late Ms O’Keeffe lived in Dromahane, near Mallow, in Co Cork and worked as a cook. She is survived by her three sons.

An autopsy was carried out on her body at Cork University Hospital on Friday, February 5. The results of the postmortem examination, which was carried out by assistant State pathologist Margaret Bolster, were not released.

The alarm was raised on the afternoon of Thursday, February 4, when a passer-by spotted a car on fire near the Coillte forest in Doneraile. Ms O’Keeffe was pronounced dead at the scene.

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