Ex-boyfriend stabbed 17 times, jury told
The trial opened yesterday of a Connemara woman charged with murdering her former boyfriend by allegedly stabbing him 17 times with a kitchen knife as she straddled his body.
At the Central Criminal Court sitting in Galway yesterday Maura Thornton (31), a native of Inverin, Connemara, Co Galway, was charged with the murder of Kevin Joyce (59) at Upper Salthill, Galway, on July 31st, 2011.
Ms Thornton broke down and cried as the charge was put to her in front of a packed courtroom yesterday.
It took her a few seconds to compose herself before she said “Guilty” and then “Not guilty” to the murder charge.
A jury of six men and six women was empanelled to hear evidence in the trial, which is expected to last two weeks before Mr Justice Barry White.
Outlining the prosecution case to the jury, Paul Greene SC said Mr Joyce was an American national who had resided for a long time in Galway.
He had a relationship with Ms Thornton at one point and both of them were dependent on alcohol.
Mr Greene said Ms Thornton had been residing alone in the Salthill apartment and had been a mature student at NUI Galway at the time.
He said the pair met from time to time to drink to excess together.
On the day in question Ms Thornton was intoxicated.
Mr Joyce, he said, had made a series of unwelcome phone calls to her during the day.
Her mother, Breege Thornton, and her mother’s partner, Brendan Lydon, called to the apartment that afternoon and brought food because they knew the accused never ate properly when drinking.
Mr Greene said they were still there when Mr Joyce appeared at about 10pm at a window that led out to a flat roof.
Mr Greene said Ms Thornton was “unhappy” Mr Joyce had turned up and he was not welcome due to the phone calls she had received from him that day.
“She took a knife from the apartment and went out on to the roof. She stabbed him. She was followed by Mr Lydon.
“There is a suggestion Maura Thornton was observed to be straddling Kevin Joyce as he was lying prone when Mr Lydon arrived out on the roof,” Mr Greene said.
The jury was told a postmortem showed Mr Joyce had been stabbed 17 times and two of the wounds had proved fatal.
There was also evidence, Mr Greene said, that Mr Joyce’s arm had been broken.
The trial continues today with Breege Thornton and Mr Lydon due to give evidence.