Woman in court over 1988 death


A 59-year-old woman wept in court yesterday after telling gardaí “I’m innocent” when she was charged with assault with intent to murder her former husband, who died after being attacked at his home in 1988.

Christopher Payne was assaulted at Rutland Grove, Crumlin, Dublin, on May 13th, 1988, by a group of men armed with a hatchet. The father of two was treated in hospital for serious head injuries but never recovered. He died six months later aged 38.

Yesterday, following her extradition from England, Philomena Coton appeared at Dublin District Court. She is accused of assault with intent to murder Mr Payne, and causing grievous bodily harm. She denies the charges.

State solicitor Vincent Maloney told Judge Blake that “it is a very old case” and could take some time before the book of evidence is ready.

Det Sgt Daniel Kelly applied for a one-week remand in custody. Judge Blake remanded Ms Coton to appear again next Wednesday.

In December 2011 Ms Coton’s daughter Sharon Cullen (40), Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, was charged with assault with intent to murder Mr Payne and assaulting him causing grievous bodily harm.

She has brought a High Court challenge aimed at halting her trial and contends she cannot get a fair trial due to the delay in prosecuting her.

In 1989 two youths were jailed for their role in the attack.