Wednesday 20 February 2019

Too late to say sorry for mum's death, daughter tells her killer father

Brigid Maguire (41) was found strangled at her home
Brigid Maguire (41) was found strangled at her home

A young woman who found her mother strangled on the floor of their home has said her father's apology in court for the killing is "a bit too late".

Jade Maguire was responding as a defence barrister told her at the Central Criminal Court that murder accused Danny Keena (54) was "very sorry for the killing of your mother".

Keena admits the manslaughter of his partner, Brigid Maguire (41), but denies her murder.

Their daughter, Jade, also told a jury at his trial of the moment she arrived at her Co Westmeath home to find her mother dead, saying she "tried to call her but she was gone".


The court heard Keena went "on the run" for 24 hours after the killing, "running wild" through a forest and unsuccessfully trying to hang and drown himself before arriving at a neighbour's house to turn himself in.

Keena, of Empor, Ballynacargy, Co Westmeath, is charged with the murder of Brigid Maguire at Main Street, Ballynacargy, on November 14, 2015.

In evidence, Jade Maguire said she, her mother and her brother had left the family home because the accused was "always very violent towards my mother, very abusive, literally the whole time".

She gave evidence of an earlier incident she alleged happened while her father was still living with the family, shortly before they moved out.

"There was a hammer and a poker and he tried to choke my mother as well," she said.

She said she had been in her room and she could hear her father shouting at her mother. She walked in and her father had his hands behind his back.

Ms Maguire said her father asked her to make him tea but she would not because she "knew he was hiding something behind his back".

She said the accused took a hammer out and started waving it into her mother's face, shouting and screaming, "saying he was going to kill her".

Her mother was very afraid and had marks on her neck.

He put down the hammer and was still shouting and her brother was trying to calm him down, Ms Maguire said.

The accused left the room and came back with a poker, which he "waved, trying to get at Mammy".

"Later we tried to leave and he stopped us with a baseball bat," she added.

They later moved out of the family home to a rented house on the main street of Ballynacargy.

On the night of November 14, after shopping in Mullingar, Ms Maguire said she went to her cousin Natalie Keena's house, while her mother went home.

When Jade returned, the door was open and she walked in and texted her mother.

"I was shouting 'Mammy', but I didn't get any response," she said.

"I kept shouting and I was a bit up the stairs when I saw her lying on the floor.

"I went over to her and I tried to call her and that but she was gone. She was dead."

Defence barrister Colm Smyth put it to her in cross-examination that her evidence was the first time a baseball bat had been mentioned.

She replied that she had been in shock and grief when she gave her statement.


Mr Smyth said there was no doubt Ms Maguire had loved her mother very dearly. He said the accused was "very sorry for the killing of your mother".

"Well, that's a bit too late," she said.

Her cousin, Natalie, said the pair had watched The X Factor, then Jade went home.

"When she came back, the screaming, I'll never forget," she said.

"She was screaming 'Natalie', roaring for me to help. She said, 'I think Mammy's dead'."

When she followed her cousin to the house, Jade said, "She's upstairs", so Natalie went up.

"I nearly fell back down the stairs with the shock," said Natalie.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy.

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