Daughter was main witness in trial


OF THE three people present during the murder of Brendan McGrath, his daughter, Veronica McGrath, was the only one not charged with any crime.

She is a mother of six and currently resides at the McGrath cottage in Lower Coole, Westmeath, where she saw her father being killed by her mother Vera and her then fiance and now ex-husband Colin Pinder.

Veronica McGrath, who was 18- years-old when she witnessed her father’s killing, had three children with Pinder. She put them into care when she split with him and married another man, with whom she had three more children. She was the main State witness in the now concluded six-week double murder trial. She had to give evidence against her ex-husband and her mother for the killing of her father.

Her version of events – including that outlined during the trial and in her Garda statements in 1993 and two years ago – involved herself in the killing. She said she witnessed it, did nothing to stop it, helped clean up and even turned up a radio to muffle the sound of the attack.

The trial judge, Mr Justice John Edwards, told the jury in his summing up that even though Veronica McGrath was a witness in the case and was not on trial, she should be regarded by the jury as an accessory after the fact.

Conor Devally SC, who was defending Mr Pinder, suggested to her that she had effectively sided with her mother against her father when he was still alive. He said she had helped her mother get her father committed to a psychiatric hospital for a week in 1985.

Patrick Gageby SC, defending Vera McGrath, did his best to paint a very clear picture of Veronica McGrath as a manipulative woman. She had effectively inherited the family home and was now giving evidence to incriminate her mother and ex-husband in the killing of her own father despite being involved in the killing herself.

He told the jury in his summing up that in becoming a key witness for the Garda and later the prosecution, Veronica McGrath had played her cards very well. She was now immune from prosecution over her father’s murder because anything she had said during her evidence in court could never be used against her.