Man jailed for life for murder of Cork woman Amy McCarthy
Adam O’Keeffe found guilty by jury after two hours and 14 minutes
Adam O’Keefe has been sentenced to life imprisonment after he was found guilty of the murder of Amy McCarthy. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
A 27-year-old man has been sentenced to life imprisonment after he was found guilty of the murder of Amy McCarthy, his girlfriend and mother of his infant son, in a squat in Cork city last year.
Adam O’Keeffe had denied the murder but admitted the manslaughter of Ms McCarthy (22) on April 29th or April 30th, 2017 at a building on Sheares Street in Cork.
At the Central Criminal Court sitting at the Anglesea Street Courthouse in Cork on Friday however, a jury of five men and six women took just two hours and 14 minutes to unanimously find O’Keeffe guilty of Ms McCarthy’s murder.
Afterwards in court, Ms McCarthy’s sister Jessica said in a Victim Impact Statement, delivered on behalf of her family, of their terrible loss following the murder of her sister who was from Greenmount in Cork city.
“The passing of Amy on the 29th/30th April 2017 has left a big void in our life. She was a loving person and not just a person, she was a daughter, a sister, a sister-in-law, a grandchild, a niece, an aunt, a cousin and a friend, but most of all she was a mother,” she said.
“The one person that misses her most is her son, Adam. What we would do or give to see them reunited and see the joy on their faces again but we know that is never going to happen. If only one of us could swap places with Amy, it would be done in a heartbeat.
“The future holds a lot for Amy’s son, but we will face them day by day. There is one thing we would like to ask and that is that Amy’s son would continue to be known as Adam McCarthy, not the boy whose father killed his mother.”
Ms McCarthy said the family were haunted by the image of “Amy lying on the floor with no one to pick her up and get her the help she needed. We have no doubt that she was pining for us that night”.
The verdict was greeted by sobs and hugs from the McCarthy family. Ms Justice Eileen Creedon said it was “extremely sad and tragic case where a young woman with whole life in front of her had died through needless violence.”
Witness Dean Nugent, who was living on the streets at the time, told the trial how he had spent April 29th 2017 with Mr O’Keeffe and Ms McCarthy when they went drinking around Cork city, and how he intervened when Mr O’Keeffe first attacked his girlfriend.
He said the row continued when they returned to a squat in a derelict office block on Sheares Street in Cork city centre where they were living and Mr O’Keeffe began hitting his girlfriend again, accusing her of cheating on him.
“Adam was getting worked up about it - he lost the plot. His temper was bad, he was pushing her and then he started hitting her and pushing her, he was hitting her in the face. She was telling him “Stop, stop”, “ said Mr Nugent.
“Amy was crying - I tried to stop him but I couldn’t do anything ... I told him to stop but I was on the streets and I was in rag condition. I was begging him to stop but he was hitting her with his fists, strong blows, because he thought she cheated on him but that’s not true.”
Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster said that Ms McCarthy died from a complex combination of factors, including blunt force trauma to the head, manual strangulation and acute alcohol intoxication after being assaulted by O’Keeffe.
O’Keeffe did not give evidence during the trial but the jury heard memos of interviews with gardaí where he admitted killing Ms McCarthy and expressed remorse for killing her but insisted he never intended to kill her.
“It is the biggest regret I have. I am sorry to her family. She is the love of my life, my soul mate, the mother of my small fella. If I could change places with her I would. I really did not mean for any of this to happen,” he told gardaí.