Deely gets life for strangling woman in Co Clare
FAS worker had pleaded not guilty to murder of Deirdre McCarthy
A file image of Colm Deely who was sentenced today at the Central Criminal Court for the murder of Deirdre McCarthy in 2011.
A Co Clare man who strangled a woman he claimed was blackmailing him before dumping her body has been sentenced to life in jail.
FAS worker Colm Deely (41), of School Road in Ballyvaughan, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Deirdre McCarthy (43), between 11pm on March 27th, 2011, and noon the following day.
But the jury of seven women and five men found the father-of-two guilty by unanimous verdict in just under three hours of deliberation at the Central Criminal Court on Wednesday.
Today Mr Justice Barry White said he was handing down the mandatory life sentence.
Ms McCarthy was socialising in a local pub with friends including Deely on the night she went missing.
The court heard Ms McCarthy’s body was found on Fanore Beach four days after later and that Deely did not take part in the search to find her.
It also heard that after her body was found Deely had attempted to take his own life by stabbing himself in the stomach and was hospitalised.
Deely told gardai they were “fooling around” in Ms McCarthy’s bed and put his hands around her neck but did not mean to kill her.
He claimed Ms McCarthy started laughing at him, that she was blackmailing him for money saying that she would tell Deely’s wife and children.
Patrick Giblin SC defending told the court his client was sorry for what he had done but “intended no harm”.
“He wishes it to be known he was judged by the jury in legal terms. But my client wishes it to be known he intended no harm in a lay man’s sense and he wishes to apologise to all concerned and hopes someday his apology might be accepted,” said Mr Giblin.
Ms McCarthy’s sister Helen Geoghegan read a victim impact statement on behalf of the family.
“I don’t think we will ever be able to truly put into words the devastation that we still feel each and every day,” said Ms Geoghegan.
“Dee was a happy, easy-going person who lived a very simple life. She didn’t have much need for the material things in life but she was a very caring person who loved life.
“She went to work, socialised with her friends and also loved spending time with her family, especially all the children in her life, her nephews and nieces.
“On Monday March 28th, the day Dee was missing, we were all shocked and confused as to where she was and what had happened to her.
“This was not Dee. She would never take off and not say anything to anyone. It was so out of character for her. As time passed it meant that we were now in a search party looking for Dee.
“We could not believe this was happening - it was so surreal. In the following days the fear was building in us as to where she was and we were very uncertain of the outcome but we were clinging on to the hope that she would return home.
“It haunts us to think how scared and petrified she was that night.
“Now knowing that the person that did this was asked during the search by my sister and I, did he see or know anything of Dee’s whereabouts he just stood there and blatantly said ‘No’ and for the last two years seeing him, he just looks at us and doesn’t appear to care for what he has done.