Jailed for life over partner's murder

 

A MAN who strangled his girlfriend in a row over her smoking cannabis in their apartment has been found guilty of her murder and jailed for life at the Central Criminal Court.

Stephen Carney (33), had pleaded not guilty to murdering Amanda Jenkins (27) at Anna Livia Apartments, James's Street, Dublin 8, on a date between October 5th and 6th, 2007.

The jury of eight men and four women spent a night in a hotel and took over four hours to reach its verdict after a four-day trial in which the accused admitted killing his girlfriend but denied murder.

Ms Jenkins's uncle, Robert McClean, told the court in a victim impact statement that his niece was an only child who had a special relationship with her mother, his sister. He said he now barely recognised his sister, who is consumed with grief. Outside court, Mr McClean thanked gardaí involved in the case and described the verdict as a "hollow victory". He said the Carney family still had their son, but his family were left only with memories of a warm and beautiful young woman.

Damien Jenkins, a brother of the victim's father, said Amanda was a "little angel" who looked after everyone else. He said justice had been done but that that did not bring back his niece.

Defence counsel Michael O'Higgins SC read a statement to the court from Carney in which he said he would give anything to take back what he did. He said he should have called someone for help straight away but had panicked after he killed Ms Jenkins.

Carney said he did not know how or why it had happened and expressed "heartfelt sorrow" for the pain he had caused.

Mr Justice Paul Carney heard that the defendant had nine previous convictions, including one for firearms offences in relation to a cash-in-transit robbery in Ashford, Co Wicklow, in 1998. He had been sentenced to eight years for this by the Special Criminal Court.

The jury had heard Carney had been drinking on a Friday and arrived home to find Ms Jenkins had smoked cannabis in their flat. He said they rowed over this and she hit him across the face.

He grabbed her by the throat and strangled her. He told gardaí he did not mean to kill her but had "just lost it". He did not attempt to resuscitate Ms Jenkins or call an ambulance or gardaí at the time.

He moved her body into the bedroom and went to the pub. He returned home briefly on Saturday before going drinking for the day.

He rang 999 on Sunday morning and told gardaí he had killed his girlfriend. He had tried and failed to kill himself on Sunday morning by taking a quantity of tablets, cutting his wrists and trying to hang himself.