'I didn't mean to kill her at all', dad-of-two on trial for murder told gardai
A father-of-two who strangled his partner told gardai she fell to the floor of her bedroom saying "I'm dying" after he choked her against a wardrobe for 60 seconds.
Danny Keena (55) said he tried to revive Brigid Maguire (43) after her tongue turned blue and she started gurgling, but the "damage was done".
He had not meant to kill her and dropped to his knees, crying "Brigie, don't die" then left the house in a panic, he said.
Keena said in garda interviews that Ms Maguire had told him he was "no good" as a father and he had accused her of seeing another man before he became violent and choked her.
Memos of the interviews that he gave to gardai were read out to the jury by prosecution barrister John Hayden at Keena's trial.
The accused, a farmer from Empor, Ballynacargy, Co Westmeath, denies the murder of Ms Maguire at Main Street, Ballynacargy, on November 14, 2015.
Their daughter, Jade, found her mother strangled on the floor.
The prosecution has not accepted Keena's plea of guilty to manslaughter.
The Central Criminal Court heard Keena told gardai he and Ms Maguire had argued after he went to her house to talk about their son, Daniel.
"She said, 'You're no good to them children, that's what has us here in this house'," he told gardai. "I said, 'You're some mother to them, whoring in and around Mullingar'."
Keena said Ms Maguire was sitting with her phone in her hand and a text came in.
"I said, 'That must be your f**king partner in Mullingar, you must be going to meet him'," he added.
"I said, 'Just go and whore yourself around Mullingar'.
"She jumped up off the bed and came at me real violently."
She had her two hands out into his face and he put his hands out to block her, he said. His two hands were on her shoulders to push her back.
"That is when I flipped," he said. "I moved them on to her neck."
Keena had his partner up against the wardrobe, choking her for 60 seconds before she fell down, he said.
"Her tongue was all blue. She was fighting for her life at this stage," he said.
He said he stopped choking her when she fell and he "knew the damage was done".
The gardai asked him if he heard anything then.
"Her gurgling," he replied.
"I didn't mean to kill her at all. I didn't go there to kill that night."
Keena said he slapped her a good few times with an open hand as he thought she was "coming back".
He said if a cow was calving he would rub her on the belly, so this is what he did and it was "working" but then "she just went, faded then".
"I got down on my knees and started crying. I said, 'Don't die, Brigie, don't die. I knew she was going'."
Keena said he felt her forehead and it was going cold.
"I knew I was after killing her, that is when I panicked," he said.
He closed the door, ran to his car and "drove home like a mad man".
He parked and ran to a cattle shed to get a rope, "to do away with myself", but thought to himself, "Danny, don't do it".
Keena then ran to the River Inny to drown himself, but he was a good swimmer and got out.
He stayed in a shed before handing himself in the next day, he told gardai.
Kenna had said weeks earlier that he would "run the car into" Ms Maguire if he met her on the road, his niece Mary Wallace Jnr told a jury.
The trial continues.