herald

Thursday 29 September 2016

Husband is jailed for 12 years after killing his wife with shotgun

Oliver Kierans
Oliver Kierans

A father-of-four who killed his wife of 33 years at their home has been jailed for 12 years.

Oliver Kierans (57) of Drumbannon, Bailieborough, Co Cavan had pleaded not guilty to murdering Patricia Kierans (54) on September 5, 2013 at the same address.

A majority verdict of not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter was reached after more than fifteen hours of deliberations.

He was found guilty of the possession of a 12-gauge double-barrel shotgun and guilty of possession with intent to endanger life last February.

Separation

Patricia Kierans died from a shotgun injury to the chest after being shot at close range.

The two-and-a-half-week trial heard that Patricia Kierans, who had been married to Oliver Kierans for more than 33 years, had moved out of the family home in June 2013.

The jury were told that this did not sit well with the accused who had begun drinking again having abstained for the summer.

The Central Criminal Court heard that out of the Kierans four children, three have moved to Australia along with six of their ten grandchildren.

In his testimony, Oliver Kierans described a "fixation" Patricia had that he was having an affair.

The State claimed that after his wife was shot, Oliver Kierans went to The Square bar in Bailieborough where a "siege" took place and he was found by gardai with a sawn off shotgun.

Throughout the two and a half week trial, the jury were shown CCTV footage in which a man identified as Oliver Kierans is seen pointing a double barrel shotgun at a man identified as local garda Tommy Fay.

In separate CCTV footage from the morning of September 5, a man identified as Oliver Kierans was seen entering Clarkes shop in Bailieborough to purchase two naggins of whiskey.

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly yesterday said that it is "tragic" that Mr Kierans caused the death of Patricia Kierans.

"This tragedy was brought about by the criminal act of the defendant. I agree with the jury that the correct interpretation is manslaughter through gross negligence," the judge said.

Mr Kierans had sent a number of text messages asking Patricia to reconsider their relationship. On the day she was shot, Patricia met Mr Kierans at the family home.

Bedroom

"It appears they both went into the house and upstairs to a bedroom," Ms Justice Donnelly recalled. "It is the evidence of Mr Kierans that he picked up his firearm with the intention to taking his own life and the firearm discharged in the direction of Patricia Kierans."

Speaking outside court, Solicitor Cahir O'Higgins said the outcome was not a happy one for the Kierans family.

"On behalf of the family, I would like to say that while they are pleased he was acquitted of the murder charge ... it is a tragedy for two families. "

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly sentenced Kierans to nine years for manslaughter, eight years for unlawful possession of a firearm and 12 years for possession with intent to endanger life to run concurrently.

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