herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Don't come back for my funeral, killer told his son

Patricia and Oliver Kierans
Patricia and Oliver Kierans
Oliver Kierans

The son of a Cavan woman shot by her husband told a murder trial jury that his father said "I don't want you to come home for my funeral" days before his mother was found dead in the family home.

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

He also pleaded not guilty to unlawful possession of a 12 gauge double-barrel shotgun and not guilty to possession of the same shotgun with intent to endanger life.

Upset

Taking to the stand yesterday, Oliver Kierans junior told Anthony Sammon SC defending that he had contacted his father from Australia on the September 2, 2013.

"Every few weeks I would ring up to see how they were. It was Monday (September 2) Irish time and Tuesday morning in Sydney.

"I rang dad and he sounded upset - it seemed as if he was crying. He was asking me who's this - he was drunk. He was telling me I was his first born and he loved me.

"He said Shane (brother) was going to Australia and he said he can't get a hold of mammy. He said 'I dont want you to come home for my funeral' - I said 'dont be so stupid'."

In his closing speech, Michael O'Higgins SC prosecuting said that the issue was whether the possibility of the shooting being an accident can be excluded.

"One thing about intoxication and memory loss - lack of memory does not equate with lack of awareness and lack of responsibility.

"We've all done something by accident with a bad result. The natural human instinct where someone has been injured is to get help - it's significant that Oliver Kierans did not get help.

"That is not behaviour consistent with someone who has accidentally killed someone. Neither is going to a public house with a concealed weapon and saying to Richie (the barman) 'There'll be big news around the town tomorrow'."

In his closing speech, Anthony Sammon SC implored the jury to accept that Oliver Kierans junior was telling the truth about the phone call. "I would suggest he is in every way a decent person - a hard-working young man who has come to tell you of his father's difficult situation and loneliness.

"It is a feature of the prosecution case that there has been very little appreciation of the real human beings involved in this dreadful family tragedy.

"In terms of what he (the accused) is saying about what occurred in the bedroom, he talks about the gun being on the bed, he picked it up and his intention was that he would show Pat he would kill himself.

Accidental

"He pointed it and the gun discharged. That is an accidental discharge - accidents can relieve one of liability.

"He was back on the drink and in the grips of despair contemplating taking his own life.

"This man is in a dreadful position. There is no doubt that his shotgun was discharged and no doubt that he killed his wife and mother of his children.

"However, the act and the mind need to come together. Bringing about the act without the guilty mind means there is not a criminal offence."

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly will give her charge to the jury on Monday.

hnews@herald.ie

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