Cork murder trial hears accused said her brother 'was going to pay for not handing over house'

Nicola Barry who works at Dunnes Stores on St Patrick’s Street, Cork, said Helen Jones and Keith O’Hara were both angry when she met them
Cork murder trial hears accused said her brother 'was going to pay for not handing over house'

Helen Jones (pictured) has two brothers, Liam Jones and the late Paul Jones.

The woman on trial for murdering her brother referred to one of her brothers when she was talking to a woman in a supermarket days before the killing and said “he was going to pay for not handing over the house”. 

Keith O’Hara and Helen Jones both deny murdering Paul Jones at his home on Bandon Road on September 4, 2019.

Nicola Barry who works at Dunnes Stores on St Patrick’s Street, Cork, said Keith O’Hara made a similar comment.

Ms Barry recalled an encounter in the store between 6pm and 7pm on August 30, 2019, when she met the two people who were known to her. She greeted Helen Jones who replied: “Don’t start on me.” 

Ms Barry said she went on to explain: “She was having terrible trouble with her brother and she spent nine grand on solicitor’s fees. Keith said he was going to pay for not handing over the house. And Helen said the same… She was saying she was entitled to the house – I can’t remember what she said, it was all about the house, house, house… She said she was going up to her brother’s house.” 

Helen Jones has two brothers, Liam Jones and the late Paul Jones. Prosecution senior counsel Siobhán Lankford asked the witness, “Did she give a name?” Ms Barry replied: "No".

She said that Helen Jones and Keith O’Hara were both angry when she met them on August 30, 2019. Helen Jones’ senior counsel Brendan Grehan said it was obvious to Ms Barry that Helen Jones was angry and she was venting. The witness agreed.

“She said she was going up to her brother’s,” Ms Barry said.

Kevin Hegarty testimony

Kevin Hegarty, solicitor, represented Liam and Paul Jones in relation to the family home at 27 Cahergal Avenue in Mayfield. Mr Hegarty said that their father, the late William Jones, changed his will in 2013 one week after his wife died. In this will the house was left to Paul and Liam with the provision that Helen could live there until she married.

Mr Hegarty said there was a civil action with the two brothers on one side and their sister on the other and this settled on May 20, 2019, on the day it was due to go to hearing in court. Mr Hegarty said it was settled on the basis that Helen Jones would settle her life interest in the house for €50,000.

Auctioneer testimony

Auctioneer Terence O’Leary was contacted by Liam Jones on behalf of owners Liam and Paul Jones to put the house up for sale in May 2019. It went on the market for €199,000 and after a lot of viewings, facilitated by Helen Jones, the highest offer was €180,000.

Mr O’Leary understood that Helen Jones was in favour of the house being sold for €180,000. “Ultimately, Liam Jones was not happy with the offer and declined it… I think Helen wanted the house to be sold. My view was that Helen was in favour of €180,000 being accepted.” 

Mr O’Leary said when he met Helen Jones at the house “they were very polite – asked me in and showed me around the house”. 

Discussing wills generally with solicitor, Kevin Hegarty, during cross-examination, Brendan Grehan SC said: “Sometimes, the seeds of discontent can be sown by the person who left the will and is no longer around.” 

Helen Jones, 54, of 27 Cahergal Avenue, Mayfield, Cork, pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering Paul Jones – her 52-year-old brother at his home - on September 4, 2019, at 108 Bandon Road, Cork.

Her co-accused Keith O’Hara, 43, also of 27 Cahergal Avenue, also pleaded not guilty to the same murder charge.

Each defendant is additionally charged with a different count related to alleged trespass at the same time and place. Helen Jones is charged with trespass to cause serious harm while carrying a knife. Keith O’Hara is charged with trespassing to commit serious harm. The defendants also pleaded not guilty to these charges.

As a result of two jurors failing to appear last the week the case continues in front of Mr Justice Michael McGrath and a jury of 10. It will resume on Wednesday, December 8, with no sitting tomorrow because courts are closed in Cork and Kerry due to the red weather warning

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