Monday 24 June 2019

'I just wanted someone to blame', woman tells love triangle death trial

Claire McGrath, the former partner of murder accused Keith Connorton
Claire McGrath, the former partner of murder accused Keith Connorton

A woman who says she saw her lover being stabbed to death by her boyfriend has told a murder trial that parts of her original statements to gardai were not true and that she "hated" her partner at the time.

Claire McGrath said she was back with the accused within days of the fatal "love triangle" stabbing and, despite their difficulties, she still loves him.

However, she denied that she changed her account, given in front of a jury last Tuesday, because of her feelings for him.

Ms McGrath (30) has been giving evidence at the Central Criminal Court in the trial of Keith Connorton (40), of Deerpark Avenue, Tallaght, who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Graham McKeever (32) at the accused man's home on February 18 last year.

The witness told prosecuting counsel Brendan Grehan that she made two statements to gardai following the fatal stabbing at the home she shared with the accused.


The first statement was given in the early hours of the morning.

She said she could not remember giving the second statement, which gardai recorded as having taken place that afternoon at Tallaght Garda Station.

She accepted that the evidence she gave to the jury last Tuesday was "inconsistent" with those statements.

Going through the inconsistencies, Mr Grehan said that in her original statement she made no reference to an "innocent" explanation for Mr Connorton having a knife in his hand because he was cutting up cannabis.

She said that in her account at the time, she said he was rolling a cigarette because "as ridiculous as it sounds now", she was more concerned about what the gardai would think of her having cannabis in the house.

Murder accused Keith Connorton
Murder accused Keith Connorton

Her original statement, she said, was also incorrect when it stated that Mr Connorton said "I'll kill you". She said he did not threaten her with words but she did feel threatened.

She denied that she had seen Mr Connorton stab the deceased "about three times", as it said in her statement.

She told Mr Grehan that she loves the accused and although their relationship was "on and off" she always loved him.

Mr Grehan asked her if that is why her account now differs to the one that she gave at the time.

She replied: "No. I think I'm trying to be as fair as I can because at the time I hated him for what he had done.

"I hadn't accepted yet that it was my responsibility. I just wanted somebody to blame."

The trial will continue on Monday.

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