Man charged with murder of Kilkenny widow 28 years ago

Case of Ann Nancy Smyth (79) found dead in burning house reviewed by Garda cold case team

John Joseph Malone arriving at Kilkenny Courthouse. Photograph: Pat Moore/ ilkenny People.

John Joseph Malone arriving at Kilkenny Courthouse. Photograph: Pat Moore/ ilkenny People.


A 52-year-old man has been charged with the murder of a 79-year-old widow whose body was found in a burning house over 28 years ago.

John Joseph Malone (52) of Newpark, Kilkenny city, was brought before a special sitting of Kilkenny District Court on Friday morning, charged with murdering Ann Nancy Smyth at Wolfe Tone Street, Kilkenny, on September 11th, 1987.

The case was the subject of Garda reviews by the cold case team and then by local gardaí­ in Kilkenny in recent years and the suspect was arrested by gardaí­ on Thursday evening in Newpark in Kilkenny.

Detective Sergeant Colin Furlong told the special sitting of the court that he arrested John Joseph Malone at 8.36pm on Thursday evening and brought him to Kilkenny Garda station.

The accused was charged and, when asked in the station if he had anything to say, replied “no”.

Mr Malone was brought by gardaí­ to Kilkenny courthouse just before 9.30am on Friday and led into the building via the main entrance on Parliament Street. He was dressed in a black jacket and blue jeans.

During the brief court hearing, Judge Colin Daly remanded the accused in custody, to appear before Cloverhill District Court on Thursday, October 22nd.

Chris Hogan, solicitor for the accused, asked that his client be put in protective custody and that he be medically assessed while in prison.

Judge Daly agreed to ask the prison governor to place John Joseph Malone in protective custory, and to have the accused medically or psychologically assessed.

The court heard the accused is not working at the moment and free legal aid was granted.

Mrs Smyth, whose husband died in 1986, was found dead in a burning house on Wolfe Tone Street in Kilkenny by fire service personnel after an emergency call was made about the blaze. The house was destroyed in the fire.