Man (62) in custody after being charged with murder of woman found in burning car

Michael Leonard appears in Fermoy court over death of Mary O’Keeffe (72) in north Cork

Michael Leonard of Hillcrest, Glenosheen, Kilmallock, Co Limerick appeared before Fermoy District Court charged with murder. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts

Michael Leonard of Hillcrest, Glenosheen, Kilmallock, Co Limerick appeared before Fermoy District Court charged with murder. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts

 

A 62-year-old man has been remanded in custody after he was charged with the murder of a mother of three whose body was found in a burning car in a forest in north Cork earlier this week.

Michael Leonard was brought amid tight security to a special sitting of Fermoy District Court at 11am where he was charged with the murder of Mary O’Keeffe (72).

Mr Leonard of Hillcrest, Glenosheen, Kilmallock, Co Limerick was formally charged with the murder of Ms O’Keeffe at Dromdeer East, Doneraile, Co Cork on February 4th 2021 contrary to common law.

Det Sgt James O’Shea of Fermoy Garda Station told the court that he arrested Mr Leonard at 11.33pm on Saturday and charged him with Ms O’Keeffe’s murder at 11.53pm on Saturday.

Det Sgt O’Shea said Mr Leonard made no reply to the charge when it was put to him after caution that anything he said in reply would be taken down and might be used in evidence against him.

Judge Marie Keane noted she had no jurisdiction in the District Court to grant bail on a murder charge and she asked what length of remand were gardaí seeking on the matter.

Insp Tony Sullivan said gardaí were seeking a remand in custody for Mr Leonard to appear at Cork District Court next Friday by video-link and Judge Keane remanded him to that date.

Defence solicitor, Brendan Gill asked that his client receive the appropriate medical attention, both physical and psychological while in custody and he also applied for free legal aid.

Judge Keane granted free legal aid and ordered that Mr Leonard receive all appropriate medical attention including psychiatric attention while in custody at Cork Prison.

Dressed in a wine coloured hoodie and black pants, Mr Leonard, who had burn marks on his forehead, did not speak during the brief five minute hearing before Judge Keane.