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Witness told deceased in fatal love triangle: 'I'd do anything to have your arms wrapped around me'

Connorton has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Graham McKeever (32) at the accused man’s home on 18 February 2017.

Image: PA Archive/PA Images

A WOMAN IN a fatal “love triangle” told the man she cheated with that she loved him and would do anything to have his arms wrapped around her.

Claire McGrath (30) has been giving evidence in the Central Criminal Court trial of 40-year-old Keith Connorton of Deerpark Avenue, Tallaght.

Connorton has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Graham McKeever (32) at the accused man’s home on 18 February 2017. McGrath has told the trial she was in a relationship with the accused for three years but was “cheating” with the deceased and invited him to stay at their home that night. The fatal fight broke out after Connorton returned home and found them.

McGrath today told defence counsel Michael O’Higgins SC that she exchanged texts and Facebook messages with the deceased in the days leading up to his death. O’Higgins read messages sent by the witness to McKeever, starting with one which she signed off: “Love you. xxx.”

She called him “sexy man” in a follow-up text and added: “I have a surprise for you but I will keep it for your eyes only.” In further texts she complained that he wasn’t responding to her, accused him of not giving her a chance and said she was “sick” and “gutted” and couldn’t stop crying.

“I can’t believe you would say such lovely things and then drop me,” another text read, followed by, “Please talk to me baby” and “I love you too much”.

She also told him he was the only thing, apart from her son, that made her happy and added: “I would do anything to have your arms wrapped around me.”

Drug use

She told Mr O’Higgins that at the time McKeever was the only thing keeping her from a breakdown over the break-up in her relationship with the accused. She said the messages showed her insecurity and she shouldn’t have sent them as they gave McKeever false hope.

She told O’Higgins that she said what she needed to say to keep the affair going and added: “Listening to it I hear how desperate I sound and I’m ashamed of myself.”

Earlier in her cross examination the witness agreed with O’Higgins that due to her drug use there may be aspects of her evidence that she has “imagined”. She said she does not believe she is a reliable witness and added: “I said that from the beginning.”

Her memory, she said, is patchy and the sequences of events don’t match up. She has no short term memory, she said, and little long term memory. “I don’t remember my childhood,” she added.

O’Higgins asked her if, as the prosecution has suggested, she is changing her version of events because she is in a relationship with the accused, who is also the father of her child. She said no, that a man has died and if she thought “for a second” that Connorton was the kind of “thug” he is being made out to be she would not let him near her child or want him in her life.

McGrath also rejected a suggestion by Brendan Grehan SC for the prosecution that the accused told her to lie to gardai about what happened in the apartment. She said she was with the accused the day after the stabbing when gardaí saw them together and questioned them on the street before arresting Connorton.

She agreed that she hugged the accused, he told her he loved her and she told him she had told the truth and so should he.

Grehan put it to her that she said this because Connorton had tried to get her to go along with a story that the deceased had broken into their home. She said this was not true and that she told him to tell the truth because he had asked her how they could explain what happened.

McGrath will continue her cross examination tomorrow in front of Justice Tony Hunt and a jury of nine men and three women.

Comments are off as the trial is ongoing.

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Eoin Reynolds

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