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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Family's relief as Margot's killer sent to prison for life

PIC SHOWS: The remains of Margot Seery are removed from Rathkeale parish graveyard, Rathkeale, Co. Limerick. TUES 16-9-14
PIC SHOWS: The remains of Margot Seery are removed from Rathkeale parish graveyard, Rathkeale, Co. Limerick. TUES 16-9-14
Picture of the late Margot Seery Pic: RTE/Barry Cummins

The family of Margot Seery said that her name has been "cleared" after a 41-year-old man admitted to strangling her 21 years ago.

Howard Kelly was sentenced to life yesterday after the court heard he admitted killing Ms Seery in a "completely unprovoked" attack in her home.

Kelly was charged with the murder of Margot Seery (48) on March 27 this year after he walked into a garda station and confessed.

He pleaded guilty yesterday at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Ms Seery at her home in Kenilworth Square, Dublin 6 on or between October 7 and October 8, 1994.

Prosecution counsel Mr Brendan Grehan SC told the court it was a "highly unusual case".

Ms Seery's death in 1994 was not considered "suspicious" at the time, however it came to be investigated as a murder some 20 years later when the accused confessed to the murder, the court heard.

In a statement read out to the court, Margot Seery's daughter Niamh Holliday, who was 12 years old when her mother died, said she was relieved that the truth had finally come out.

"I hate that I had that anger towards her for so long and none of this was her fault," read the statement.

"In the last year I have gone through so many emotions with this case. It was mainly anger as I shouldn't have had to believe a lie for 20 years. For that I am grateful to Howard Kelly for coming forward with his confession."

"When she was alive, my mam was what I would describe as a cool mam," Niamh's statement read.

"She was always kind to people and would help them in whatever way she could. In the end I suppose this was her downfall."

Detective Inspector George McGeary from Terenure Garda Station gave evidence that the body of Ms Margaret Seery, who was known as 'Margot', was discovered at 1.30pm on October 8, 1994 in the bedroom of her flat in Kenilworth Square, Rathmines.

Ms Seery's body was discovered by a manager of the flats. She was fully clothed and lying face down on her bed.

Mr Grehan said the post-mortem at the time indicated there was no suspicious circumstances attached to Ms Seery's death and it had been due to asphyxia due to inhalation of vomit caused by alcohol. Ms Seery's body was buried at Rathkeale Cemetary, Limerick.

Killed

Then on July 22, 2014 Howard Kelly - with an address at Osprey Apartments, Naas, Co Kildare -came into Rathmines Garda Station and told gardai he had killed a woman at Kenilworth Square about 20 years ago.

He told gardai that he had met a woman after being on a pub crawl with his friend and was invited back to her apartment.

He said he "felt threatened" by the woman and killed her by strangling her.

"Something came over me and I felt compelled to take off my shirt and wrestle her to the ground, put my knees on her arms and strangled her to death," read Mr Grehan from a statement of interview.

The court heard Kelly would have been 20 years of age when this occurred. Mr Grehan also said there had been no case of any suspicious death reported at the time.

Det Gda McGreary said Kelly told gardai he had previously told a college friend he had killed a woman as well as admitting it to a nurse in a psychiatric hospital in 1997.

"He told gardai he had been planning for a long time to come in to confess but he wanted to kill himself instead," said Det Insp McGreary.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy today sentenced Kelly to life imprisonment and backdated it from March 27, 2015.

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