Killer kept body in flat for 1½ days, court told

 

A 33-YEAR-OLD Dublin man strangled his girlfriend in their apartment on a Friday evening in October last year and waited until the Sunday morning to contact gardaí, a court heard yesterday.

Stephen Carney is on trial at the Central Criminal Court for the murder of Amanda Jenkins, (27) at Anna Livia Apartments, St James's Street, Dublin, between October 5th and 6th, 2007. He denies the charge.

Defence counsel Michael O'Higgins SC told the jury that his client had admitted that he strangled the deceased and that that act caused her death. He admitted that it happened at about 8.30pm on October 5th, 2007, and that gardaí arrived at the apartment at about 10.30am on Sunday, October 7th.

Prosecuting counsel Diarmaid McGuinness SC said the fact that Mr Carney killed Ms Jenkins was not at issue in the case but Mr Carney retained the presumption of innocence in relation to murder.

During interviews with gardaí Mr Carney denied he had intended to kill his girlfriend.

Mr McGuinness said the couple lived in a third-floor flat and Ms Jenkins arrived home from her job in a fruit and vegetable shop on St James's Street at about 7.45pm on the Friday.

A row broke out between her and the accused because he could smell "hash", Mr McGuinness told the court.

The prosecution said that as Ms Jenkins was on the sofa, Mr Carney leaned down towards her and she gave him a "clatter" across the face. He then grabbed her by the throat and strangled her.

On Sunday morning Mr Carney rang 999 and told gardaí that he had just killed his girlfriend. A recording of the conversation was played to the court. In the recording, Mr Carney said he had strangled Ms Jenkins on Friday night and had tried to kill himself. He said he wanted gardaí to come and take him away.

Anne Jenkins, the victim's mother, said she last spoke to her daughter by phone at about 8pm on the Friday. The following day she received two phone calls from the accused in which he said Ms Jenkins had "packed in" her job. He said she was in bed asleep and that her mobile phone battery was dead. Mr Carney phoned Ms Jenkins again to tell her not to answer the phone if her daughter's boss rang her, she told the court.

She rang Mr Carney at about 2.30pm on Saturday because her daughter's phone was off, the court heard. He said she was still asleep. The witness asked him to look after her daughter for her, to which he replied "of course I will, Love", she told the court.

Ms Jenkins's employer and co-workers tried and failed to contact her after she did not turn up for work on Saturday morning. Co-worker Catherine O'Connor said she texted Mr Carney asking if Ms Jenkins was okay. He replied by text "I will ring you in an hour, sorry about this".

Garda Paul Maher told the court that he arrived at the flat on Sunday morning. He said the accused appeared visibly upset and told gardaí "she's in there".

Garda Maher cautioned Mr Carney who then said, "I tried to cut myself. That didn't even work. I strangled my girlfriend on Friday night." Garda Maher said he found Ms Jenkins's body in the bedroom covered in a duvet or sleeping bag.

Mr Carney was arrested and taken to the patrol car. While in the vehicle he told gardaí, "I tried to ring you on Friday but I couldn't. I was off the drink until last Friday, then I had drink and drugs." The prosecution said Mr Carney was seen on the Friday drinking in a pub and going in and out of a betting shop where he lost €4,600 but won €7,140.

The hearing continues.