James Kilroy’s murder trial collapses after ‘complex matter’ arises

Park ranger (49) had denied murdering Valerie French Kilroy at their Co Mayo home by reason of insanity

The murder trial of James Kilroy, who admitted killing his wife Valerie French Kilroy at their rural Co Mayo home, has collapsed at the Central Criminal Court after an “unexpected, complex matter” arose in the case.

Evidence was scheduled to continue before the jury on Monday but Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring told the 10 men and two women she had been left in the “unfortunate position” of having to discharge them and put the matter back to allow the issue to be resolved. The trial had been sitting since March 8th.

The jury members were told last Wednesday that the trial would be adjourned until Monday due to an unforeseen “bump in the road” arising.

“No one is at fault, it is not something that could have been foreseen or dealt with. It has led to both parties needing further time,” she said, adding that she hoped the adjournment would “give all parties time to sort out the issues”.


Mr Kilroy (49), a park ranger with an address at Kilbree Lower, Westport, was charged with murdering Ms French Kilroy (41) at their home on a date between June 13th, 2019 and June 14th, 2019. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.


Addressing the jury on Monday, Ms Justice Ring said it had not been possible to resolve matters to everyone’s satisfaction and more time would be needed. She said her obligation was to ensure a fair trial for Mr Kilroy.

“A fair trial should meet all peoples needs and bring finality to an accusation, which is ultimately to the benefit of all, including the family of Ms French Kilroy,” she added.

Ms Justice Ring said it was “clearly regrettable” and that the parties had reached “a complex matter unexpectedly” in the trial which needed to be dealt with.

“The case will be given priority, it won’t be allowed to linger in a very long list but beyond that there is nothing else I can do,” she stated.


The judge thanked the jury for their commitment to the case before discharging them and exempting the 12 members from jury service for seven years.

She listed Mr Kilroy’s trial for mention before the Central Criminal Court on March 27th.

“Hopefully some indication of a trial date can be reserved into the future,” she concluded.

The Chief State Pathologist had told the murder trial that occupational therapist Ms French Kilroy, a mother of three, died from ligature strangulation, blunt force trauma to the head and a stab wound to the neck.

Evidence had been given that gardaí found Ms French Kilroy’s body lying in the foetal position on the floor of a campervan with a child’s car seat over her face.

Patrick Gageby SC, defending Mr Kilroy, made a number of formal admissions to the court on behalf of his client including that he killed his wife. The jury heard that the defendant told gardaí he “waited in the long grass” at night for his wife to return home from meeting with friends before silently carrying out a “dark and frenzied” attack.