‘Black Widow’ Catherine Nevin dies aged 67 after cancer battle
Nevin was convicted of 1996 killing of her husband Tom
Catherine Nevin, who became known as “the Black Widow” while on trial accused of murdering her husband, has died from cancer.
The 67-year-old died on Monday night in Dublin’s Mater Hospital, less than five months after being released from a life sentence imposed for Tom Nevin’s March 1996 murder at their pub, Jack White’s, in Co Wicklow.
She spent 17 years in prison after being found guilty in 2000.
Interest in the murder case was so intense that reporting of it saw newspaper columns given over to discussing her clothing choices and other aspects of her appearance, and she was dubbed “the Black Widow”.
Her initial trial collapsed when jurors were overheard deliberating through a door and restrictions were imposed on reporting during her second trial.
Photographs of Nevin’s arrival to court were prohibited, as was comment on her hair, dress, jewellery, nail varnish, reading material or demeanour.
She was released last September and had been undergoing treatment for cancer since then while also being supervised by the Probation Service.
Her trial heard evidence from three men - William McClean, Gerry Heapes and John Jones - who all said Nevin had offered them money to kill her husband. All three declined her offers at the time – in 1989 and 1990 – but gave evidence against her during the trial years later.
She was convicted of murder after the prosecution successfully argued she had hired an unknown gunman to kill her husband in a mock robbery. She was also jailed for seven years for soliciting the men to kill Mr Nevin.
Dubliner Eugene ‘Dutchy’ Holland was suspected of being the gunman who killed Mr Nevin. Now dead, he was also suspected of the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin four months later.
She had always denied any involvement in the murder. She lost an appeal against her conviction in 2003. In 2010, she also lost an application to have her conviction declared a miscarriage of justice.
She had recently launched a legal challenge to a High Court ruling that prevented her inheriting any part of her late husband’s estate.
Her husband’s siblings have been involved in a a legal campaign to ensure she did not inherit the estate.
Tom Nevin died without leaving a will. His assets included the pub, which was jointly owned with his wife and which she sold in late 1997 for IR£620,000, two Dublin properties, a IR£78,000 insurance policy and cash of IR£197,000.
His share of the assets will now likely remain with his family.