High Court to hear petition to dismiss Roche Kelly action

Husband has sued the State and other parties, including the Garda Commissioner, for damages alleging his wife’s killer was “free to commit the crime of murder when he should have been in custody”

 

An application by the State for court orders dismissing an action by the husband of murdered woman Sylvia Roche Kelly, will be heard at the High Court in May.

Lorcan Roche Kelly has sued the State and other parties, including the Garda Commissioner, for damages alleging his wife’s killer was “free to commit the crime of murder when he should have been in custody”.

The central issue in the case arises from the fact that the killer was on bail at the time of the murder.

The body of Ms Roche Kelly, a mother of two from Sixmilebridge, Co Clare, was found face down in the bath of a Limerick Hotel in December 2007, after she had been out celebrating her 33rd birthday. She had been violently beaten and strangled.

Gerard McGrath (24), Ballywalter, Knockavilla, Co Tipperary, was sentenced at the Central Criminal Court in 2009 to life imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to murdering Ms Roche Kelly at the Clarion Hotel, Steamboat Quay, Limerick on December 8th, 2007.

At the time of Ms Roche Kelly’s murder, McGrath was on bail on a charge of assaulting a female taxi driver in April 2007.

The case of Ms Roche Kelly was included in a dossier of material given to Taoiseach Enda Kenny last week by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin after that material was given to Mr Martin by whistleblower Garda Sgt Maurice McCabe.

The civil action by Mr Roche Kelly relates to the circumstances under which McGrath was on bail at the time of the murder.

The claim includes a substantial claim for a sum to meet the cost of care for Ms Roche Kelly’s two children.

When the defendants’ application to have the case dismissed was briefly mentioned yesterday before High Court registrar and deputy master Angela Denning, it was adjourned on consent of all sides to May 26th.

The hearing is expected to last two hours.

The State says the case should be struck out or dismissed on grounds including that it is null and void, involves no reasonable cause of action and amounts to abuse of process.