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.”
Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team
Despite an increasing number of young people experiencing eating disorders, a new specialist community team has yet to be set up in Galway well over a year after it was announced.
The delay is mainly due to a difficulty recruiting a consultant psychiatrist to lead the team, this week’s HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting was told.
Councillor John Connolly (FF) queried the progress on the new Eating Disorder Community Health Team within the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) after the HSE revealed in September 2021 that it would be set up in response to the hike in youths presenting for treatment.
Chief Officer of HSE Community Healthcare West, Breda Crehan-Roche, said interviews had been conducted to recruit a clinical lead, but so far none had been appointed. Six other staff had been appointed and these had been assigned to existing teams within CAMHS while a psychiatrist could come on board to manage the team.
“We have difficulty getting locum cover. Interviews were held. It’s a priority. We are doing a running recruitment process,” she told this month’s meeting.
It took between six and nine months to appoint a person to such a senior post.
“There is a lot of work in specialist intervention in the eating disorders team.”
She admitted that there were no records of how much of an increase there had been in referrals to CAMHS Galway for youths troubled by an eating disorder as all records were on paper rather than on computer.
“I can’t ask clinicians and therapists to pull together manual figures,” she stated. But the indication from staff on the ground was that there had been a downward trend in referrals post-Covid.
There was a move to keeping digital records by the middle of next year.
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan has passed away at the age of 78.
Born in Kilkenny in 1944, Bishop Drennan studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth from where he was ordained in 1968
As a priest, the then Fr Drennan served as curate in both St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan.
From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at St. Kieran’s College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Irish College there for the next five years.
When Fr. Martin again returned home he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997.
Following the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin, Bishop Drennan was chosen as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and was installed on 3rd July 2005 in Galway Cathedral serving to his retirement in 2016.
A brief statement released by the Diocese of Galway this afternoon confirmed his passing and offered their sympathies to Bishop Drennan’s family and all those who mourn his loss.
Funeral arrangements for the late Bishop Drennan will be announced later
Gardaí appeal for help to locate missing man
Gardaí are seeking help from the public in locating a 66-year-old man who has been missing from Clonbur since Thursday.
Michael Harte is described as being 5’ 9” in height, of slim build with short grey hair. When last seen, he was wearing blue jeans, a blue jumper, a tan / khaki padded jacket and tan boots.
He is understood to have access to a black Renault Megane with a 02 C registration.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Clifden Garda Station on 095 2250, the Garda confidential line on 1800 666111 or any Garda station.