Woman (54) found guilty of murdering brother in inheritance dispute

Helen Jones and Keith O’Hara to be sentenced on Friday for 2019 murder of Paul Jones

Paul Jones died after he received a chop wound to his head with a bill hook and 25 stab wounds to his body amid a dispute over the inheritance of the family home

Paul Jones died after he received a chop wound to his head with a bill hook and 25 stab wounds to his body amid a dispute over the inheritance of the family home

 

A woman has been convicted of murdering of her brother in a dispute over the inheritance of their family home.

A jury unanimously found Helen Jones (54) guilty in her trial over the death of Paul Jones (55), who sustained a chop wound to his head with a bill hook and 25 stab wounds to his body at his home on the Bandon Road in Cork city on September 4th, 2019.

Her former partner Keith O’Hara, who blamed Jones for what happened, was also convicted at Cork Central Criminal Court of murdering Mr Jones.

The pair were also found guilty of trespassing on Mr Jones’ property with the intention to cause serious harm. They will be sentenced on Friday and victim impact statements will be delivered by members of the Jones family.

Brendan Grehan SC, for Jones, asked if his client could stay in the holding cells during the victim impact statements as she fears becoming physically ill. Mr Justice Michael McGrath said he would consider the matter on Friday.

The trial heard that the father of Helen and Paul Jones had left the family home on Cahergal Avenue to his two sons with the provision that Helen could live there until she married.

A civil action, with Mr Jones and his brother Liam on one side, and Helen on the other, ended on the basis that she would settle her life interest in the house for €50,000. However, she continued to have feelings of bad blood in connection with the matter.

‘Going to pay’

O’Hara had told an acquaintance on September 4th, 2019 that Mr Jones was “going to pay for not handing over the house” and that the pair took a taxi to his home that evening. The prosecution said Jones hammered on the door with a knife at about 9.30pm.

After several minutes the two left the property and were captured on CCTV around McCurtain Villas, where a discarded bill hook was later found in a garden during searches by gardaí.

O’Hara denied murdering Mr Jones and said his former partner had done it. He said they were “kind of engaged” at the time and that he did not call an ambulance for Mr Jones because he feared being “victim number two”.

The body was found by a concerned family member three days after Mr Jones was attacked.

O’Hara admitted hitting Mr Jones over the head with the hook, but claimed he had grabbed it from him and then struck him in self defence. He denied stabbing Mr Jones or that throwing the hook into a nearby garden was an attempt to hide it.

He told the court that he did not see a knife in the hands of Helen Jones in the deceased’s home but he did think he saw her straddling and punching Mr Jones. He said he only realised later that she had been stabbing him.

Admitted lying

Under cross-examination, he admitted lying to gardaí during his interviews after the murder. He claimed bruises on his arm were caused by “rough sex” and that neither he nor Jones had left the house on the night her brother died.

Chief State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan, who carried out a postmortem on Mr Jones, noted a chop wound to the head and a scalp injury. She said he received 25 stab wounds to his neck, upper arms, abdomen, chest, right armpit and back, with seven of the injuries 10cm or more in depth. Mr Jones also had extensive bruising under the skin of the skull. Dr Mulligan said the cause of death was a chop wound to the head and multiple stab wounds.

Following the guilty verdicts, Mr Justice McGrath thanked the jurors for their “care and attention” in the case and said they were exempt from further jury service for life.