A jealous young man who attacked and killed a mother-of-one he described as his "soulmate" after accusing her of cheating on him has been convicted of her murder.
Adam O'Keeffe (27) sat with his head cradled in his hands as a Central Criminal Court jury of five men and six women returned a unanimous guilty verdict after a two-week trial.
O'Keeffe, of St Vincent's Hostel, Cork, had denied the murder of his girlfriend, Amy McCarthy (22), but admitted her manslaughter.
Ms Justice Eileen Creedon was told that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) did not accept O'Keeffe's manslaughter plea.
Members of Ms McCarthy's family, who attended every day of the trial, became emotional as the verdict was returned.
O'Keeffe received a mandatory life sentence.
In a hard-hitting victim impact statement, Ms McCarthy's sister, Jessie, said they deeply mourn her loss every day.
"The one thought in our minds that will remain forever is of Amy lying on the floor with no one to pick her up and get her the help she needed. We have no doubt she was pining for us that night," she said.
"The one person that misses her most is her son, Adam. What we would do or give up to see them reunited and see the joy on their faces again, but we know that is never going to happen.
"There is one thing we would like to ask is that Amy's son would continue to be known as Adam McCarthy - not the boy whose father killed his mother."
Ms McCarthy, who was O'Keeffe's long-time partner and the mother of his young son, was found dead on the first floor of a derelict building on Sheares Street in Cork city centre on April 29/30, 2017.
She had been badly beaten and strangled. Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster said she is believed to have lay dying for around four hours. O'Keeffe insisted he never intended to hurt or kill Ms McCarthy, from Greemount in Cork.
The trial heard he was very jealous and had repeatedly accused Ms McCarthy of having cheated on him, something she vehemently denied.
The duo had serious alcohol dependency issues.
Just hours before Ms McCarthy's death, O'Keeffe had scrawled in graffiti on The Gate Cinema wall that: "Adam loves Amy forever - Amy loves Adam forever."
Ms McCarthy suffered blunt force trauma injuries from multiple blows and had indications - including apparent hand grip marks on her neck - that she was manually strangled.
The defendant insisted to gardai he could not remember what had happened.
"I did not mean for it to happen," O'Keeffe told one garda.
"She never deserved me hitting her. I would never say that she was asking for it. Amy was a small girl - I should have been protecting her," he told gardai.
"The next thing I remember, she was dead. Why didn't they [others in the derelict building] stop me - it should not have happened. I was crying over her, begging her to wake up.
"It is the biggest regret I have - I am sorry to her family. Amy is the love of my life. She is my soulmate and the mother of my small fella. If I could change places with her I would. I really did not mean for any of this to happen."
Witness Dean Nugent was with the defendant and the deceased on April 29.
"She was crying. I tried to stop him hitting her but I could not do anything. I was begging him to stop...he lost the plot," he said.