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Woman charged over husband's axe killing

A WOMAN was due to appear in court in Dublin today charged in connection with the killing of her husband almost 25 years ago.

Father-of-two Christopher Payne was attacked at his home at Rutland Grove in Crumlin, Dublin, in May 1988 by a group of men armed with a hatchet.

Mr Payne, who had suffered from a chronic kidney ailment, was treated in hospital for serious head injuries but never recovered. He died six months later.

Among those questioned by gardai at the time was his wife, Philomena Payne, but she was released without charge.

She moved overseas and met a new partner, becoming Philomena Coton.

But following a review of the investigation by members of the garda cold-case team and officers from Sundrive Road station, a fresh file was submitted to the DPP.

Gardai established she was living in Birmingham and sought her extradition.

Mrs Coton lost her appeal against the execution of the warrant last week and she was taken back to Dublin last night by two gardai. She will appear before Dublin District Court on assault charges.

Separately, Mrs Coton's daughter Sharon Cullen (39), of Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, has brought a High Court challenge aimed at halting her prosecution.

She is charged with unlawfully and maliciously causing grievous harm to her father Christopher with intent to murder him.

Cullen denies the claims and says that she cannot get a fair trial due to the delay in bringing proceedings.

In her action she claims her prosecution, without fresh evidence, is unfair and should be prohibited on grounds including that she has not been prosecuted within a reasonable timeframe.

No reason was given to her why there was a delay of 24 years before prosecuting her.

She also claims the decision to charge her is a breach of her rights both under the Irish Constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights.