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Cork murder trial hears brother was stabbed after argument over family home

Helen Jones (53) is accused of murdering her brother Paul at his home on the southside of Cork city in September 2019.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A MAN IN his fifties was found dead in his home having sustained in the region of 25 stab wounds to his torso and a “deep chop wound” to his head, a murder trial in Cork has heard.

The prosecution alleged at the opening of the case that Paul Jones (52) was murdered arising out of an argument over the inheritance of a family home in Cork city.

Helen Jones (53) is accused of murdering her brother Paul at his home in the Lough on the southside of Cork city in September 2019.

Ms Jones of 27 Cahergal Avenue in Mayfield, Cork appeared before the Central Criminal Court sitting having entered a plea of not guilty to a charge of murdering Paul Jones, on 4 September 2019 at 108 Bandon Road, The Lough in Cork.

Her co-accused, 43-year-old Keith O’Hara, also pleaded not guilty to the same charge of murdering Paul Jones.

The jury heard an outline of the State case from Prosecuting Senior Counsel Siobhan Lankford. She said that the State’s case will be that there was acrimony between the two accused and the deceased in relation to the ownership of the Jones family home.

She said that the State will allege that Ms Jones had a dispute with Paul Jones and her other brother Liam about ownership of the house. The property had been left in their father’s will to Liam and Paul Jones with the provision that Helen Jones be allowed live there until she got married.

Lankford said that in 2018 Liam and Paul took a case against Ms Jones to evict her. The case was compromised on the basis that Helen vacate the property. A certain amount of money was to be given to her from the sale of the house.

Ultimately there was a court case about the property in 2018. These proceedings had been compromised. Liam and Paul brought the case trying to evict Helen. It was compromised on the basis that she would vacate and be paid a certain amount out of the sale of the house.

However, Lankford alleges that there was “ongoing acrimony” which gave Ms Jones and her partner at the time Keith O’Hara a motive for the murder.

Lankford said that the jury could expect to hear evidence from a witness who allegedly met Ms Jones and Mr O’Hara in a branch of Dunnes Stores. Lankford said the witness is anticipated to say that Keith O’Hara told her that “the brother (Paul Jones) will pay.”

She said it is the State’s case that the two co-accused got a taxi on the evening of 4 September 2019 to Bandon Road in Cork, where Paul Jones was living, and that there was an altercation.

Lankford said that Paul Jones was found dead on 7 September 2019. His body was in the hallway of his house.

Lankford said that the postmortem revealed that Mr Jones received in the region of 25 stab wounds to the torso and a “deep chop wound” to the head. A Garda investigation was commenced.

She said that the jury would hear evidence from a taxi driver who allegedly brought a man and woman to the property on the evening of 4 September 2019.

Lankford said that CCTV footage will allegedly show the navy-coloured taxi arriving in Bandon Road, with a number of witnesses anticipated to give evidence that they saw a woman get out and violently and aggressively knock on the door of 108 Bandon Road.

She said it was the State’s case that Ms Jones had a knife and that she hammered on the door with the knife. Lankford stated that it was alleged that Keith O’Hara stayed in the taxi but subsequently got out.

Lankford said it will be alleged that the taxi driver saw Paul Jones, whom he knew, at the door, and that there was “aggression between the parties”.

Lankford said that as this was at around 9.45pm on a busy road there were a number of witnesses set to give evidence of what they saw.

She said that it is the State’s case that after several minutes, the two accused left the property and were allegedly captured on CCTV heading in the direction of MacCurtain’s Villas.

She said that a female witness is expected to give evidence that she met a man and a woman, whom the State allege are the co-accused, in a “distressed state”.

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She called a taxi, but the man and the woman flagged a taxi down in the interim and allegedly asked to be taken to Cahergal Avenue. She said that blood samples taken from the back of the car for analysis were found to be a match for Mr O’ Hara.

She claimed that the jury were also likely to hear evidence evidence that Ms Jones allegedly asked a friend to wash her clothes for her on 5 September 2019 and that clothing seized from both co-accused had on it the blood of the deceased.

She added that searches were carried out in the area and a bill hook/machete was found in the property of a garden in MacCurtain’s Villas. She says that the jury is expected to hear that a Forensic Ireland Examination allegedly concluded that blood matching the profile of the deceased was found on the blade of the weapon whilst blood matching Keith O’Hara was found on the handle of the weapon.

Lankford emphasised that her outline of the case to the jury was not evidence and came with a “health warning”.

Meanwhile, Helen Jones was also charged with entering 108 Bandon Road as a trespasser on 4 September 2019 with intent to cause serious harm having at that time a knife. Ms Jones also pleaded not guilty to this charge.

Meanwhile Mr O’Hara also entered a not guilty plea to a charge of entering as a trespasser at 108 Bandon Road on 4 September 2019 with the the intent to cause serious harm. The case continues and is expected to last up to a month.

Over 150 witnesses are due to be called over the course of the lengthy trial.

Justice Michael McGrath asked that the jury refrain to refrain from discussing the case with family, friends or acquaintances. They were also ordered not to look at social media, or read or watch newspaper or television reports about the case.

About the author:

Olivia Kelleher

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