Guilty of killing former lover
A Connemara woman was found guilty by a jury yesterday of the manslaughter of her former lover in a Salthill apartment during race week two years ago.
Maura Thornton (31), a native of Spiddal with a more recent address in Inverin, Connemara, had denied the murder of US national Kevin Joyce (59) at a rented apartment at Upper Salthill on Sunday, July 31st, 2011, during a six-day trial at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Galway.
The jury of three women and nine men returned a unanimous verdict yesterday, finding the accused “not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter”.
Mr Justice Barry White remanded the accused on continuing bail to appear before the Central Criminal Court sitting in Dublin on March 11th next for sentencing. He directed the preparation of a victim impact statement to be taken from relatives of the deceased living in Cleveland, Ohio.
Evidence had been heard during the trial of how Mr Joyce had been in a brief relationship with the accused which ended in the weeks before his death.
He had phoned her 37 times that Sunday and was intoxicated to a dangerously high level when he arrived outside her apartment that night.
Thornton’s mother told the jury her daughter went out in a rage to confront Mr Joyce, carrying a kitchen knife. She said she looked out through the window and saw her daughter carry out a punching action with the knife in her hand. She saw the victim fall.
A postmortem revealed Mr Joyce had been stabbed three times in the back – once in the back of the neck and twice in the left shoulder.
Thornton later admitted during Garda interviews that when the victim fell on his back, she sat astride him on the ground and “prodded” him 15 more times in the upper left shoulder and chest area with the knife. Two of those stab wounds, which were 9cm deep, proved fatal as they punctured his left lung and pulmonary artery in two places.