herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Man cleared of murder after killing his wife with shotgun

Oliver Kierans (57)
Oliver Kierans (57)

A 57-year-old man has been found not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of his wife.

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

He pleaded not guilty to unlawful possession of a 12 gauge double-barrel shotgun but was found guilty of that charge earlier this week.

Gun

He was found guilty yesterday of the possession of the same gun with intent to endanger life by a majority jury verdict of 11 to one.

The jury of five women and seven men returned after more than fifteen hours with a majority verdict of not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter by 10 to two.

The trial over two and a half weeks heard that Patricia Kierans, who had been married to Oliver Kierans for more than 33 years, had moved out of the family home in June 2013.

The Central Criminal Court was told that she had moved in with her sister and had started a relationship with another individual.

The jury were told that this did not sit well with the accused who had recently begun drinking again after abstaining for the summer.

The court heard that out of the Kierans four children, three had moved to Australia along with six of their ten grandchildren.

In his testimony last week, Oliver Kierans described a "fixation" Patricia had that he was having an affair.

When asked by prosecuting counsel Michael O'Higgins if he had been jealous by the thought of Patricia with someone else, he replied "no".

"They [his family] were all gone and I just wanted to end my life," he told the court.

On September 5, 2013 the court heard that Mr and Mrs Kierans had gone to the family home together.

The accused told gardai in interviews that he had brought his wife to a second-floor bedroom to show her he was going to "do away" with himself.

During his testimony, Mr Kierans described how he lifted the gun and "the yoke hit the top of my hand".

The court heard that Patricia Kierans was shot at quite close range sustaining a very serious wound to her chest from which she died.

Garda Adrian O'Hanlon of Virginia Garda Station gave evidence that he he found the body of Patricia Kierans in a family bedroom.

Garda O'Hanlon confirmed that his colleague had checked for a pulse and that there was none present.

It was the State's case that afterwards, Oliver Kierans went to The Square bar in Bailieborough where a "siege" took place and he was found by gardai with a sawn off shot gun.

Throughout the trial, the jury were shown CCTV footage in which a man identified as Oliver Kierans is seen pointing a shotgun at a man identified as local garda Tommy Fay.

Whiskey

In separate CCTV footage from the morning of September 5, a man identified by gardai as Oliver Kierans was seen by the jury entering Clarkes shop in Bailieborough to purchase two naggins of whiskey.

State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy that such was the severity of the injuries from the shotgun blast that Mrs Kierans' death would have been almost immediate.

Ms Justice Donnelly remanded Oliver Kierans in custody for sentencing on March 26.

hnews@herald.ie

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