herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Helen's killer moved in with her brother

THE family of a mum shot dead and left to rot in the boot of a car have spoken of their "horror" at her death.

Mother-of-one Helen Donegan was dumped in the car by Dublin mechanic Bernard Curran who spent weeks faking worry about her whereabouts.

Astonishingly, the killer reported her missing, moved in with her brother and even took her son out on day trips as the devastated family carried out searches.

"This man destroyed all the family. He phoned her in front of me knowing she was in the his boot," said Helen's heartbroken brother Martin today.

Curran (53), of The Weir, Lucan, will be sentenced next week for killing his partner after she caught him trying to shoot himself.

He was before the Central Criminal Court yesterday, where he admitted shooting dead 30-year-old Helen.

The father-of-two had originally been charged with murdering the Ballyfermot native between May 4, 2010 and June 22, 2010. However, the prosecution accepted his plea of not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter.

Curran had been living with Ms Donegan at various addresses for eight or nine years. She had a heroin addiction and they were moving out of their home in St Patrick's Park, Celbridge, on the day of her death.

Ms Donegan's body was found in the boot of a car at Curran's garage in Castlebagot, Co Dublin, seven weeks after she disappeared.

Her aunt Caroline O'Connor gave a victim impact statement, saying: "Suddenly that pain in your chest hits you and the grief takes over. We always believed her drug problem would be the death of her, but not this."

Prosecutor Brendan Grehan said Helen was last seen on May 4, 2010 and Curran reported her missing to their local garda station on May 17.

He said that on the same day, the defendant handed in his shotgun to another garda station to be destroyed as he was not renewing his licence.

Mr Grehan said that a garage in Castlebagot, Co Dublin, was searched on June 22 that year. Curran left while they searched and Ms Donegan's body was found wrapped in plastic in the boot of an estate car.

A post-mortem found she had died from a single gun shot wound to her heart.

Curran had arranged to meet the gardai that evening.

"I know you know I did it," he said. "It was an accident ... It should have been me."

Detective Sergeant Declan Dunne told the court Curran had said: "I wanted to shoot myself. She grabbed the gun and it went off. We were moving out of the apartment and I was considering killing myself."

Curran was remanded in custody for sentencing on Monday.

hnews@herald.ie

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