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Connacht Tribune

TV series looks at issue of ‘intimate partner homicides’

Denise McNamara

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A former businesswoman who was beaten to death by the leg of a chair in Craughwell is one of six cases under the spotlight by a new documentary series examining cases where women were killed by their partners.

Fir, Marú agus Grá gives a startling insight into “intimate partner homicides”. The common thread of the six cases is the turbulent relationships that often precede the killings, explained the producer Medb Johnstone of  Midas Productions.

On July 17, 2005, Catherine McEnery was found dead in the bedroom of a picturesque thatched cottage outside Craughwell.

Her partner of ten years, Kieran Lynch, was tried for murder two years later in the first murder trial held in the county since the Maam Trasna murders in 1882.  He was found guilty of murder after the jury rejected his claims that he was provoked into “a crime of passion” after she had allegedly hit him with a plank of wood.

The court heard that both Kieran Lynch and Catherine McEnery struggled seriously with alcohol and abused it regularly with prescription drugs. Ms McEnery had previously run a successful catering business before her relationship with Lynch. He described her during the trial as “as the closest you’ll ever get to an angel”.

Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis had found Ms McEnery had endured a multiplicity of blows to her head, face, trunk and limbs and had sustained a fractured skull, broken cheek bone and jaw, multiple fractured ribs as well as defensive injuries to her hands, which also had broken fingers. He found the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, face and chest.

Gardaí gave evidence they found a broken leg of a chair inside the cottage with bloodstains and hair. There was blood throughout the home, while “clumps of hair” were found on the door frame leading into the bedroom.

While serving a life sentence, Lynch won an appeal against his conviction for murder. The Court of Criminal Appeal found the Mr Justice Paul Carney’s responses to questions from the jury concerning provocation, while “entirely well meant”, were “misconceived and confusing”.

A retrial was ordered and at his arraignment he pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was given a reduced sentence of 12 years – with the final four years suspended.

As he had already served ten years, he was released from prison and placed on probation for two years.

Ms McEnery’s case is featured in the fifth episode of the series.

The first examined the trial of Laois man Robert Corbet for the killing of Aoife Phelan in 2012. Some 13 days after she was first reported missing by her family, Aoife’s body was discovered in an oil barrel buried ten feet underground on Corbet’s land.

The second episode looks into the killing of Catherine Smart, whose body was found in her home on Easter Sunday 2010 in Middleton, Co Cork. Arrested for the first time 38 days after the death, Derrick Daly stood trial for her murder in 2011.

The next one explores the death of Romanian nurse Loredana Pricajan, whose body was discovered in a Dublin hotel by the night porter on duty. Her ex-boyfriend, Romanian national Mihalache Marian, stood trial for her murder a year later.

Episode number four examines the trial of Goodwill Udechukwu for the murder of his wife, Jamaican mother of two, Natasha Gray, in her apartment in Phibsboro in 2003. After killing Natasha, Goodwill disappeared without trace only to be arrested for a different crime in London in 2005.

The final case – the first where a person accused of murder in Ireland is tried in Britain – examines the evidence presented at the murder trial of Christopher Newman for the murder of Georgina Eager in Walkinstown, Dublin in 2003.

“We very much wanted to shine a light on these cases as many victims of violent crime are too quickly forgotten. We wanted to show the evidence, how these men were caught, the hard work that goes into piecing that evidence together,” Medb explained.

“Every one of the perpetrators denied it. No one was able to speak up for the victim. They had no voice, nobody was there to speak up about how they met their death other than the killer.”

Medb points to statistics which show that in Ireland nearly nine in every ten women who are killed are killed by a male known to them.

“By and large, these ‘intimate partner homicides’ are usually preceded by physical or mental abuse, controlling behaviour and harassment. But separation can also be a catalyst for violence and for women, it is often a dangerous time to be around the men they wish to leave.”

Connacht Tribune

Homemade Wimbledon is a different bale game!

Francis Farragher

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James Craughwell about to serve over the tape – and the sheep gates – to brother Christopher with mum, Anne, in the background. The family dog Prince is showing a keen interest in taking up the role of ‘ball boy’. The brollies on the deck chairs were actually purchased at the Wimbledon tournament that the Craughwells attended in 2017.

WIMBLEDON mightn’t be happening for the tennis professionals this year due to COVID-19 – but one North Galway family are planning their own version of the tournament.

The younger members of the Craughwell family in Menlough village have had a tradition over the years of lining out their own court on the silage slab that’s available for recreation purposes during the early weeks of the Summer.

The three sons of Jarlath and Anne Craughwell – Christopher, Shane and James – rarely missed the opportunity through the years to ‘get the silage slab ready’ for their own Wimbledon tournament.

“The dimensions of the silage slab are almost exactly the same as a tennis court [78 feet X 36 feet} so back the years we always organised our own games. When the silage was made, then that was always it for another year,” Christopher Craughwell told the Connacht Tribune.

As the lads grew older the summer tennis court hadn’t been used for a few years but in 2020 with the introduction of the coronavirus restrictions, it seemed like a perfect time to bring it back.

“This year we took it a stage further. We used the sheep gates for the net with a line of white electric fence tape along the top so this is probably the best job we’ve ever made of it.

“The silage won’t be made for at least another month so were planning to stage our own family tournament over the coming weeks. With the weather so good, it’s been a great way to pass the time,” said Christopher.

See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops or available for delivery with your groceries. You can also order the paper from An Post at no additional charge – or purchase a digital edition on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

City Council houses Travellers in county

Declan Tierney

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Cllr Donagh Killilea.

Galway City Council will spend close to half a million euro to house a Traveller family – in a property well outside its own local authority boundary.

Instead the family of four, who previously lived on the Carrabrowne halting site, will be accommodated in the house at Kiltulla near Carnmore, which is deep in Galway County Council’s local government area.

The City Council is understood to have paid €388,000 for the property which will require another €50,000 to refurbish – leaving little change out of half a million euro.

Angry residents, who were unaware of the plan, have now organised a petition to City Council CEO Brendan McGrath to voice their objection to the move.

But Cllr Donagh Killilea believes that there is a bigger issue at stake – with Galway City Council acquiring property wherever they like.

And Senator Ollie Crowe said that he believed the City Council – of which he was a member up to his Seanad election – should be acquiring property within their own area and that this acquisition was ‘unprecedented’.

He said that it was his view that there would be nothing bought outside the city boundary and that the money spent on this property would refurbish a lot of the City Council’s housing stock that had fallen into a state of dilapidation.

See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops or available for delivery with your groceries. You can also order the paper from An Post at no additional charge – or purchase a digital edition on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

Long drives still out of bounds for golfers

Declan Tierney

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Teeing off from the 12th tee at Galway Bay Golf Resort in Oranmore this week on the re-opening of golf courses around the country. There is nothing to suggest that any golfers travelled more than 5km to play in Oranmore. Photo: Keith Kelly.

This week’s relaxation of travel restrictions saw an exodus to the garden centres and the golf courses – but Gardaí have this week reiterated their warning to those planning to excede their five kilometre limit that they may find themselves in the heavy rough.

The first phase of a return to ‘normality’ went to plan, despite the early rush to newly reopened facilities. Even the rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of furloughed golfers, who were on the first tee from daylight.

Time sheets for golf clubs across the county were choc-a-bloc as they opened their doors to members for the first time since the end of March – but many clubs privately admitted that more than half of those who played had travelled way beyond the 5k restriction.

That led Gardaí to warn that they will be mounting checkpoints and turning people back home – adding that the golf clubs themselves have a responsibility to advise members on the travel rules.

Tuam Sergeant Pat Hastings confirmed that Gardaí had the power under the Health Preservation and Protection Act 2020 to turn back individuals travelling more than 5k from their homes.

He warned that a file will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions to deal with anyone who continually breached the regulations.

See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops or available for delivery with your groceries. You can also order the paper from An Post at no additional charge – or purchase a digital edition on this website.

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