Man who killed his girlfriend kissed her as she lay dead

Ambulance crew ‘told him to leave scene’, Central Criminal Court trial in Cork hears

Adam O’Keeffe,  a native of Midleton but with an address at St Vincent’s Hostel, Cork, denies the murder but admits the manslaughter of Amy McCarthy on April 29th or 30th, 2017. File photograph:  Cork Courts Limited

Adam O’Keeffe, a native of Midleton but with an address at St Vincent’s Hostel, Cork, denies the murder but admits the manslaughter of Amy McCarthy on April 29th or 30th, 2017. File photograph: Cork Courts Limited

 

A 27-year-old man, accused of murdering his girlfriend, kissed her on the lips and rested his head on her chest as she lay dead, the man’s murder trial has heard.

He did this until told by ambulance personnel to leave the area, the court was told.

Adam O’Keeffe, a native of Midleton but with an address c/o St Vincent’s Hostel, Cork, denies the murder but admits the manslaughter of Amy McCarthy (22) on April 29th or 30th, 2017, at a building on Sheares Street in Cork.

At the Central Criminal Court, sitting at the Anglesea Street Courthouse in Cork, HSE ambulance supervisor John McCarthy told how he and a colleague responded to an emergency call to Sheares Street on April 30th, 2017.

On arrival they met a man called Adam and two other men who brought them to the second floor of a squat where they found a young woman dead on the second floor and Mr O’Keeffe referred to the deceased as his girlfriend and also his wife.

Mr McCarthy said Mr O’Keeffe then asked him had Ms McCarthy broken her neck. He said he found the question unusual and answered it with another question, “Why? Did she fall?”

He said the young man did not reply.

Trauma to the head

Mr McCarthy told the jury how he then told Mr O’Keeffe to leave as they needed to clear the room, only for Mr O’Keeffe to kneel down and kiss the deceased on the lips twice and put his head on her chest before leaving the area.

Earlier, opening the prosecution case, Sean Gillane SC said the jury would hear evidence that a postmortem had shown signs of Ms McCarthy suffering from blunt-force trauma to the head and manual strangulation.

“The deceased in the case is Amy McCarthy . . . she was reared in Greenmount, born to a good, loving, stable family, she had three sisters. In her teenage years, as happens, Amy was someone who developed difficulties, in particular the abuse of alcohol and prescription drugs.

“She met the defendant, Adam O’Keeffe, who was from Midleton and living at St Vincent’s Hostel in Cork. He was also given to abuse – serious abuse – of alcohol. They began a relationship and the abuse of alcohol was very much a feature of it.”

Volatile

Mr Gillane said the relationship between the couple was volatile on occasion and Mr O’Keeffe experienced jealousy on a regular basis and although Ms McCarthy remained living at home after they had a child together and she made efforts to overcome her alcohol problems, her difficulties re-emerged.

Mr Gillane said Ms McCarthy used to spend a large part of the day around the city centre drinking with Mr O’Keeffe and others and on the weekend in question she was visible from early in the morning on CCTV from various locations around Cork city.

He said that at around 4pm on MacCurtain Street there was a heated argument between Ms McCarthy and Mr O’Keeffe. “It seemed to be based on the belief by Adam O’Keeffe that Amy McCarthy cheated on him,” Mr Gillane told the jury in his opening.

The two were seen at Fine Wines off-licence on Washington Street at 5.30pm on April 29th and the last time Ms McCarthy was seen on CCTV was at 7.10pm on April 29th outside a building on Sheares Street that was used as a squat.

Paramedics

At 6.30am the following day, Mr O’Keeffe and two other men went to the Mercy University Hospital asking for assistance. Paramedics from an ambulance found Ms McCarthy on the second floor of the building at Sheares Street.

She was dead, lying on her back with the appearance of having suffered injuries and Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster attributed her death to blunt-force trauma to the head and manual strangulation, said Mr Gillane. He added that Ms McCarthy has also consumed a considerable amount of alcohol.

The case, which continues before the jury of six men and six women and Ms Justice Eileen Creedon, is expected to last about two weeks.