Murder accused claims victim blackmailed him

Former Defence Forces member claims he gave victim up to €40,000

A retired member of the Defence Forces accused of murdering a woman in Co Westmeath told gardaí he was being blackmailed by her for up to €40,000 or she would tell his wife.

Jimmy Devaney (66), a father of three, of Millbrook Avenue, Monksland, Athlone, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Marie Greene in 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 the 13th of February and her body was found in a bog near Ballykieran, outside Athlone, nine days later.

On Friday the jury listened to memos of Garda interviews with the accused on February 21st, 2011, in which he told them he had lost control and stabbed Ms Greene.

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

Mr Devaney said he had not paid any of the money back said he was waiting for a windfall to clear his debts.

He said he drove out to a bog on the Mullingar Road to talk to her but denied bringing a knife with him on the night in question.

Mr Devaney said Ms Greene threatened that she was going to tell her brother to collect her, that he (her brother) would sort the accused out and and that she was swinging the knife at him.

In the interview he said he grabbed Ms Greene and wrestled with her before throwing her into a drain.

He told gardaí she started running at him with a knife and he grabbed it from her and he pulled her to the ground before stabbing her. He said he later buried her.

When asked how many times he had stabbed her he said: “I just lost it completely. She was after doing so much damage, she was holding me over a barrel for years.”

The trial will continue on Monday before a jury of six men and six women with Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan presiding.