Verdict in Athlone murder trial expected today

The jury in the trial of Jimmy Devaney, who is accused of murdering Marie Greene in Athlone four years ago, will retire today to consider its verdict.

At time of going to press, it was expected that the jury would retire this (Thursday ) morning, at the end of a two-week trial.

Father-of-three Mr Devaney (67 ), of Millbrook Avenue, Monksland, Athlone has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Ms Greene in Athlone, on February 13, 2011.

On Tuesday, the jury heard closing speeches in the trial, while the judge gave her direction to the jury yesterday (Wednesday ).

The prosecution says Jimmy Devaney – a retired soldier - planned the killing and brought a knife with him when he drove out to Anagorta Bog with Marie Greene.

But he defence says that she would regularly go to that bog when meeting up with clients and they say that the knife could have been stolen from his jeep by her.

Alex Owens, SC, prosecuting, said that anyone could find themselves in a difficult situation but that did not excuse Mr Devaney. “Human life is important and you only get one shot at it,” Mr Owens told the jury.

Mr Owens told the jury that they were going to be asked to decide if it was reasonably possible the accused could have killed her in circumstances where as a result of being provoked he had a sudden and temporary loss of self-control.

He told the jury that the defence of provocation was only a partial one which allows for a verdict of manslaughter to be returned.

He added the accused did not lose control and that the killing pointed to a desire for revenge, some forward planning and calculation.

Giollaiosa O’Lideadha, SC, defending, said there was no evidence that Mr Devaney had planned the killing. 

He said provocation and manslaughter were not mentioned in the prosecution’s opening speech even though it was clear that the defence was relying on the garda interviews with the accused.

“I want to assure you manslaughter is an extremely serious offence,” said Mr O’Lideadha.

Counsel said this was a most serious offence which his client had admitted to in an interview with gardaí.

He told the jury there was evidence Marie Greene had stolen items from other people’s cars previously and may have done so with the knife.

He asked the jury that if the knife was part of the plan then why did his client throw it back in the boot of his jeep afterwards.

Earlier Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan asked the jury of six men and six women if they had discussed the trial with each other or with any third parties to which they replied ‘no’. 

The jury members were sent to their room and when they returned Ms Justice Heneghan said that one of them had been discharged.

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