Three jailed for killing man in Cork and dumping body in slurry pit

 

A CORK woman has been jailed for 10 years and a Scottish woman and English man for nine years each for killing a New Age Traveller and dumping his body in a slurry tank in west Cork.

A Cork man was jailed for six months for impeding the investigation into the English man’s death.

Father-of-two Jason Thomas (39) of Exeter in England and Scottish mother-of-one Amanda McNab (27) were sentenced to nine years each after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Gary Bull on September 23rd, 2007.

Following a trial, Fermoy native and mother-of-four Úna Geaney (45) was found not guilty of murder but guilty of his manslaughter at the Dunmanway farmhouse she rented with McNab. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison at the Central Criminal Court yesterday.

Joseph Barrett (25) of Drimoleague, Cork, was sentenced to six months after pleading guilty to withholding information.

Gardaí found Mr Bull’s body on October 11th, 2007, at the bottom of the slurry pit on the farm attached to the women’s home.

Three weeks earlier, a weekend-long birthday party had taken place at the house.

Mr Bull had been back and forth to the party, at which alcohol and drugs were consumed. He arrived for the final time on the Sunday evening, was drunk and argumentative and got into a scuffle with Geaney. He went out to his jeep and started his petrol-powered concrete saw, with which he had attacked his ex-girlfriend a fortnight earlier.

He was on the way back to the house when a guest hit him over the head with a plank of wood and took the saw from him.

He recovered and was back in the house drinking when he had another scuffle with Geaney, and tried to leave. However, she had hidden his keys down her bra.

Geaney, McNab and Thomas claimed they were afraid he would return with others to seek retribution if they let him go. The other guests were sent to a bedroom.

McNab and Thomas hid Mr Bull’s jeep in a laneway, known as “The Escape Route”, and were returning to the house when they met Geaney and the victim in the front yard. There was another scuffle between them, and Thomas gave Geaney a wooden mallet and told her to hit him.

She hit him on the legs and handed the mallet back to Thomas, who continued the assault on Mr Bull’s head.

McNab got a knife but it was weak and bent as she tried to stab Mr Bull. No stab wounds were found on the victim, who died from blunt force trauma to the head.

At one point, a guest came from the bedroom and saw Thomas kneeling over Mr Bull with the mallet held over his head, saying: “I can’t believe he’s still alive.” Geaney later ran into the house and told the other guests that Mr Bull was dead and that they needed to plant a tree.

“Where a bad man stands, a tree should be planted,” she said.

Geaney burned the mallet, the body was dumped in the slurry tank and Thomas headed for England, where he was caught last year. He has previous convictions, including for possession of an article with a blade.

Geaney, whose son had died of a drug overdose in the farmhouse, had convictions for assault and possession of knives.

Barrett had convictions for assault causing harm and violent disorder.

Mr Bull had distanced himself from his family and moved to Ireland, where he was a heroin addict. However, he had worked in landscaping in west Cork and had recently renewed his relationship with his two teenage daughters.

Mr Justice Paul Carney said yesterday Mr Bull was a reliable hard worker, and it was his failure to turn up to work early that raised concerns for his safety.

He backdated all sentences to the dates each defendant went into custody.