herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Dublin woman gets life in jail for murder as her brother seeks a retrial

Murderer Sabrina Cummins
Murderer Sabrina Cummins

A man made a "breathtaking" application to withdraw his guilty plea for murdering a "mentally challenged" 63-year-old while his co-accused sister was handed a life sentence.

Kenneth Cummins (28) also with an address at Ringsend Park, Dublin 4, pleaded not guilty to the charge initially, but four weeks into the trial he changed his plea to guilty.

Yesterday, however, Giollaiosa O Lideadha SC told the judge he had been instructed to have his client's plea of guilty vacated as he was not in a fit state to make the plea on November 11.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt asked Mr O Lideadha "where would they go from here" on the assumption that the application is successful. Mr O Lideadha said if the plea was vacated, Mr Cummins would have to go on trial again.

"This was a man who couldn't wait to get out of the building and now he wants to come back," said Mr Justice Hunt. Mr O Lideadha replied: "He wants a retrial... and if it was possible to reconstitute the jury."

Prosecution counsel Remy Farrell SC said this application was "breathtaking", adding Mr Cummins wanted an opportunity to run the trial again without his co-accused, and that he opposed it.

Rock

Mr Justice Hunt said it was a "remarkable application" and Mr Cummins would be "pushing a rock up a hill, but we will see where it goes".

The court then proceeded with the sentence of Kenneth's sister Sabrina Cummins (37), with an address at Ringsend Park, Dublin 4. She was handed a life sentence for murder, backdated to January 8, 2014.

Ms Cummins pleaded not guilty to murder, but last Tuesday a jury brought in a unanimous verdict of guilty at the Central Criminal Court.

The court heard two victim impact statements read out by Mr Farrell - one from Margaret Horan, the deceased's former partner, and the other from his brother-in-law Jim Muldoon.

Ms Horan is now in a nursing home, a place she feels she wouldn't be if he was still alive. Mr Horan and Margaret separated in 2000.

"Tom used to walk up to Marge every other day. He was physically fit, never drank or smoked, but he had the mental capacity of a 12-year-old," read Mr Farrell from Mr Muldoon's statement.

"Marge is very aware of the circumstances of Tom's death, and Sabrina. Marge did mention that Tom was afraid of Sabrina," read Mr Farrell.

Horrible

"She said she used to tell him not to answer the door after a particular time at night.

"Marge is unfortunately aware of the horrible accusations that were made against Tom during this trial, and it is sad that his character was attacked. Tom was so loyal, trusting and innocent."

The application for Kenneth Cummins will be dealt with on Monday December 7.

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