Doneraile murder accused to be tried in Central Criminal Court

The 72-year-old grandmother, Mary O’Keeffe, was found dead in a burnt-out car
Doneraile murder accused to be tried in Central Criminal Court

Michael Leonard appeared at Cork District Court via video-link today. File photo: Dan Linehan

A man accused of murdering a pensioner in Cork earlier this year will be tried at the Central Criminal Court, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed.

Michael Leonard (63) of Glenosheen, Kilmallock, Limerick, who appeared at Cork District Court via video-link on Wednesday and spoke only to confirm his presence, is accused of murdering pensioner Mary O’Keeffe (72) at Doneraile, Cork, on February 4 this year.

It was the ninth time that Mr Leonard has appeared in connection with the death of Ms O’Keeffe.

Sgt John Kelleher said that the DPP had directed that Mr Leonard be sent forward to the Central Criminal Court for trial on indictment on a single charge of murder.

He sought an adjournment until September 10, to which defence solicitor Brendan Gill agreed. Judge Colm Roberts remanded Mr Leonard in continuing custody, and he is scheduled to appear by video link once more on September 10 at Cork District Court.

It was the ninth time that Mr Leonard has appeared in connection with the death of Ms O’Keeffe. Picture Dan Linehan
It was the ninth time that Mr Leonard has appeared in connection with the death of Ms O’Keeffe. Picture Dan Linehan

An inquest opened recently into the death of Ms O’Keeffe heard that her body was discovered by Mallow firefighters after a callout to a car fire.

When the crew managed to put out the fire near a communications mast in a forest clearing at Dromdeer in Doneraile, they discovered a body in the car.

Assistant state pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster, performed a post-mortem where DNA was used to identify her remains, as the burns had been so severe to the body.

The post-mortem revealed Ms O’Keeffe died from extensive severe third degree burns associated with the inhalation of carbon dioxide due to a fire in the car.

Coroner Dr Michael Kennedy was told a person was before the courts and an application was granted under Section 25 of the Coroner’s Act to have the inquest adjourned pending criminal proceedings.

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.

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