Man accused of murder says victim was ‘destroying’ his life

Former soldier claims woman blackmailed him and that he gave her up to €40,000

The prosecution has finished calling evidence in the trial of a retired army private accused of murdering a woman who he claimed blackmailed him for up to €40,000.

Father-of-three Jimmy Devaney (66) of Millbrook Avenue, Monksland, Athlone has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Marie Greene in Co Westmeath on February 13th, 2011.

The court has heard that Ms Greene, who was working as a sex worker, was last seen alive on the evening of February 13th and her body was found in Anagorta Bog near Ballykieran outside Athlone nine days later.

The accused told gardaí that he had been blackmailed, with Ms Greene threatening to tell his wife and to get her brothers after him.

He told gardaí in an interview that he had given her up to €40,000 and €20,000 in the previous six months.

Alex Owens SC, prosecuting, has been reading memos of Garda interviews with the accused to the court.

Lost control

Mr Devaney said he drove out to a bog on the Mullingar Road to talk to her but denied bringing a knife with him. He told them he had lost control and stabbed Ms Greene.

The jury was also shown videos of the accused during his detention where he said she was swinging the knife at him and he pulled her to the ground.

He said he grabbed the knife from her and she was screaming and kicking. He said he stabbed her saying he completely lost control and had just come to the end of his tether after 15 years.

“I don’t feel relief that she’s dead, she was evil to me but she wasn’t bad person ya know? I don’t think she was a bad person,” Mr Devaney told gardaí.

“She was destroying my life . . . I was an easy target . . . if she wanted €400 I gave it to her, if she wanted €6,000 I gave it to her. I didn’t think it was going to escalate into this.”

“God forgive if I didn’t do it today I would be going looking for more money to give her,” he said in the interview.

During an interview on February 22nd, 2011, he was shown a green-handled knife and said it was the one he used to stab her but denied bringing it with him.

“She had the knife, I didn’t source it,” he told gardaí.

When asked how many times he had stabbed her he said “a good many times, she was screaming and kicking”.

On Monday Det Sgt Eamon Curley who previously gave evidence for the State was tendered as a witness to the defence.

He gave evidence that a previous client said that Ms Greene would go with him to Anagorta Bog on a regular basis.

Det Sgt Curley told Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending, that the deceased’s brothers were “well-known”.

Det Sgt Curley agreed with the defence that it was the prosecution’s case that the motive for the killing was one of blackmail.

Overdraft

He further agreed that the prosecution accepted he was being blackmailed and was paying large amounts of money with his account going into overdraft over time.

The court was told Mr Devaney had an exceptionally successful soccer career and had played for Athlone Town and Temple Villa.

It also heard he was a loving, caring father and gardaí accepted he was genuine in his work with children in Belarus.

Closing speeches will be made on Tuesday before presiding judge Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan gives her direction to the jury.

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