A woman wearing a dressing gown and slippers was seen using a knife to bang on the door of a house where a 52-year-old man was later found dead covered in blood.
Two women out walking a dog on Bandon Road, Cork, after 9.30pm on September 4, 2019, described this woman’s actions to the judge and jury at a murder trial.
Witness Carmel O’Herlihy said: “We came across a lady banging on the door of a white house with a knife – like a steak knife. Her hair was tied up. She was wearing a dressing gown and slippers… We looked back and she was crossing back across the road. I think she was chatting to herself or giving out to herself. She was walking pretty quickly.”
Eyewitness Marie Hennessy gave similar evidence, saying she recalled that the woman had no shoes on her feet.
Helen Jones, 54, and Keith O’Hara, 43, deny the murder of Paul Jones – Ms Jones’ brother – on September 4, 2019, at 108 Bandon Road, Cork. They are on trial before Mr Justice Michael McGrath and a jury at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.
Taxi driver testimony
Taxi driver, Pat Moynihan picked up the two accused at 27 Cahergal Avenue, Mayfield, and brought them to Bandon Road at around 9.30pm on the night of September 4, 2019. He knew Helen Jones to salute, knew the deceased and knew their late father, who was described by defence senior counsel, Tom Creed, as a big, hard-working mason, known as “The Horse”.
Mr Moynihan said Helen Jones got into the car with a man she introduced as Keith and that he was staggering and drunk. The taxi driver was concerned this man might get sick in the car. The man later asked him to stop on the journey, and the jury was told that Keith O’Hara bought himself €20 worth of hash.
Mr Moynihan said Helen Jones got out of the taxi on Bandon Road. “She would have been shouting and banging at the door… I said to Keith, ‘she is making a bit of a racket, like.’ She was calling Paul by name. It would have been noisy enough. He (Keith) told me, ‘can you do a U-turn and go around by the house.’
“I parked right outside the house. So I could see Paul (Jones) facing me. He was wearing nothing only his boxer shorts. Keith is in the passenger seat with me. I think Helen is gone into the house.” He said Keith got out of the car later.
Mr Moynihan said he had been paid €20 at the start of the journey to take them from Cahergal Avenue to Bandon Road and back to Cahergal Avenue.
Brendan Grehan SC for Helen Jones asked the taxi driver what he heard. He replied: “Only that they were yapping, that’s all. They were kind of yelling. At the start I thought it was going to be a bit of wrestling.
I thought I would ring Togher garda station. I got no answer. Then I thought it might be a minor thing.
“What caused you to ring?” Mr Grehan asked. Mr Moynihan replied: “I thought it would blow up.” Tom Creed SC for O’Hara said to the taxi driver that when he heard Helen at the door on Bandon Road he must have been thinking, “What have I got myself into? God knows what’s going to happen here.”
Mr Moynihan replied: “Exactly.” He said he did leave and heard Keith say: “Go on.”
Testimony from pathologist
Chief state pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan examined the body of the deceased on September 8, 2019, and found that he was a man weighing 19 stone and measuring five feet nine inches.
The pathologist described in detail a chop wound to the head which fractured his skull which may have been caused by a machete or like implement, and also described over 20 stab wounds to the chest, stomach and upper back.
“It is my view that death in this case was due to chop wounds to the head and multiple stab wounds to the trunk and right arm with no contributing factors. The severity of the traumatic injuries was enough to cause death,” Dr Mulligan said.
Cross-examining on behalf of Helen Jones, senior counsel Brendan Grehan said of the chop injury to the deceased’s head: “It would be consistent with being struck from the front – it cleaved into the skull causing a fracture to the skull causing a bleed injury.”
At one stage when Detective Garda Aoife Hayes was showing a machete, which was recovered from a