Jury sent home for night in trial of man accused of murdering wife

Renato Gehlen (39) claims Anne Colomines (37) stabbed herself during row over her new boyfriend

A jury has begun deliberating in the Central Criminal Court trial of Renato Gehlen, who is  accused of murdering his wife Anne Colomines in Dublin almost four years ago.  Photograph:  Matt Kavanagh

A jury has begun deliberating in the Central Criminal Court trial of Renato Gehlen, who is accused of murdering his wife Anne Colomines in Dublin almost four years ago. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

 

A jury is to continue its deliberations on Wednesday in the trial of a man accused of murdering his wife in Dublin almost four years ago.

Mr Justice Michael MacGrath concluded his charge to the jurors on Tuesday in the Central Criminal Court trial of Renato Gehlen (39), a Brazilian national, who has pleaded not guilty to murdering Anne Colomines (37), a French national, at their home on Dorset Square, Gardiner Street Upper, Dublin 1 on October 25th, 2017.

In his closing speech, prosecution counsel Shane Costelloe SC said Mr Gehlen had displayed the “ultimate in toxic masculinity” by stabbing his wife to death in an effort to control the end of their marriage.

The accused’s actions that night, Mr Costelloe said, were “the last roll of the dice” and amounted to him “putting the final full stop at the end of their marriage, not her.”

Mr Gehlen told gardaí that Ms Colomines had died after stabbing herself. The prosecution said this account was “ridiculous” and “insulting” to the jury.

Defence counsel Seamus Clarke SC submitted in his closing statement that the prosecution had not excluded the possibility that the deceased’s injuries were self-inflicted.

It was entirely possible that the “struggle over the knife”, where the accused said Ms Colomines plunged the knife into the middle of her chest, could have happened and if this “set of actions” was reasonably possible, then the jury had a duty to acquit his client, Mr Clarke said.

‘Another man’

The trial heard that Mr Gehlen told gardaí that he and his wife had a fight about “another man”. He said Ms Colomines had a knife and he did not know if she was going to do something to him or herself.

Mr Gehlen told gardaí her death was “50/50 blame on both sides” and that he “tried to make her stop”. He told gardaí that he then tried to kill himself because Ms Colomines was his family.

Completing his charge to the jury of seven men and five women, Mr Justice MacGrath said that if they were satisfied there was a reasonable possibility that what the accused said to gardaí could have happened, then they must acquit him.

The jury can return two verdicts in relation to the murder charge against Mr Gehlen - guilty of murder or not guilty.

Mr Justice MacGrath asked the 12 jurors to be unanimous in their verdict before they were sent out to being deliberations at midday.

At 4pm the court registrar, after one hour and 40 minutes of deliberation, asked the jury foreperson if the panel had reached a verdict on which they all agreed. She said they had not.

Mr Justice MacGrath said he would adjourn proceedings until Wednesday as it had been a long day for the jury.

“Don’t speak about the case to anyone and don’t conduct any outside searches or enquiries and as far as possible keep away from any media coverage,” he said.