Jury to consider reduced charge of manslaughter

A charge of murder against the man accused of killing Kilbeggan pensioner Christy Hanley last May has been reduced to manslaughter.

The jury in the trial of 47-year-old Noel Cawley, of no fixed abode but with a previous address at Castleblaney, Co Monaghan, retired yesterday [Thursday] morning to begin its deliberations.

They have been instructed to consider a reduced charge of manslaughter against Mr Cawley, who at the outset of the trial pleaded not guilty to murdering 83-year-old Mr Hanley at his home at Bridge Street, Kilbeggan on May 21 last year.

He also denied robbing Mr Hanley of an unknown sum of money on the same date.

It is the prosecution’s case that Mr Cawley tied Mr Hanley up, robbed him, and beat him to death.

Speaking at the trial, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said: "I take the view that there is a reasonable possibility that he [the accused] did not intend to cause serious harm.

“In murder it must be proven that there was an unlawful killing caused by the actions of the accused with the intention to kill or cause serious injury.”

During the trial at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis told the court that Mr Hanley “seemed to have been beaten about the head and face”, which “could have been caused by blows, punches and kicks”.

The court also heard that fingerprints and DNA matching Mr Cawley’s were found on a belt that had been tied around Mr Hanley's wrists.

The jury is continuing its deliberations.


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