Monday 24 October 2016

Brother and sister are facing life in jail for torture and murder of man

Sabrina Cummins has been found guilty of murdering Thomas Horan
Sabrina Cummins has been found guilty of murdering Thomas Horan
Kenneth Cummins (28), pleaded guilty to the murder of Thomas Horan

A brother and sister are facing life in prison after they were found guilty of "torturing" and murdering a 63-year-old man.

Sabrina Cummins (37), of Ringsend Park, Dublin 4, pleaded not guilty to murdering "mentally challenged" Thomas Horan at Cambridge Court, Ringsend, on January 6 last year.

Yesterday, a jury of six men and six women found Sabrina Cummins guilty at the Central Criminal Court.

Her brother, Kenneth Cummins (28), changed his plea to guilty four weeks into the trial.


The court heard Mr Horan was force-fed cleaning fluid, had a rope placed around his neck, a bag over his head and he was "severely beaten".

Prosecution counsel Remy Farrell said the victim, who had special needs, was subjected to a "protracted torturing and killing".

State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy gave evidence that Mr Horan died as a result of asphyxia at his home. He had a fractured cheekbone and 14 fractured ribs.

"The area above the Adam's apple had an area of reddening. It had the appearance of a burn or chemical burn," she said. "Something like white spirits could have caused this."

The court heard that a woman who called herself Joanna called 999, saying she had found the body of her friend.

Gda Ciaran Sweeney also gave evidence that he was on patrol on the morning in question when, at 5am, he was dispatched to the area. He said he noticed a couple sitting on the wall outside the Old Presbytery on Cambridge Road.

A woman who he identified in court as Sabrina Cummins approached Gda Sweeney and identified herself as the 999 caller. She said she was on her way home when she saw the victim's body through the window.

This was "absolutely impossible", Gda Sweeney told the court.

It was given in evidence that a number of fingerprints were found in the home of the deceased which were attributed to the two accused.

Desmond Farrell, a neighbour of Mr Horan, said he heard a woman asking "Where's the wallet?" in the home of the deceased early on the morning of January 6 last year.

Both Kenneth and Sabrina Cummins were arrested two days after Mr Horan's body was found.


Mr Horan's brother-in-law, Jim Muldoon, told the court that the deceased was "mentally challenged" and "an easy touch".

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said it was "abundantly clear" from the evidence that Mr Horan met a horrific death as well as there being the input of more than one person in this event.

On hearing the verdict, Cummins held back her tears before leaving the courtroom and sobbing loudly at the holding cell.

Judge Hunt thanked the 12 members of the jury and exempted them from service for the next 20 years.

The pair will be sentenced on Friday.

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