Accused ‘drank four bottles of vodka a day’ — (Irish Examiner)

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Irish Examiner

The woman accused of murdering a man in Bandon, Co Cork, had been drinking three to four bottles of vodka a day around that time, she told investigating gardaí.

Catherine O’Connor, aged 37, of Bridge House, Sean Hales Place, Bandon, is on trial before Mr Justice Paul Carney and a jury of eight women and four men at the Central Criminal Court, sitting in Cork.

She denies a charge of murdering Jonathan Duke, aged 27, at Bridge House, on Nov 13, 2011.

Det Garda Michael Brosnan summarised some of the question and answer sessions, that took place with the accused at Bandon Garda Station, to the effect that she repeatedly denied responsibility for anything that happened at the flat.

She said she had been living with a man in flat 3 at Bridge House for six to seven weeks prior to Nov 13, 2011, and they had been going out together since they first met at an off-licence in Bandon.

Asked by Det Garda Brosnan and Det Garda Jason Wallace about her drinking habits in that period, Ms O’Connor said she would have a big bottle of vodka at 11am and would have two or three more bottles during the rest of the day.

She said, if she had could not afford that amount of alcohol, she would buy cans of cider and drink them instead.

Ms O’Connor also told gardaí she was on Valium, anti-depressants, and cough mixture.

Before gardaí told Ms O’Connor during this interview that Mr Duke, also known as Dukie, was dead, they asked her if he had ever visited the flat, and she said he had visited a couple of times in the six or seven weeks she was there.

Asked further about the deceased, Ms O’Connor replied: “He just ups and leaves, he would not tell you he would be going sometimes.”

On the night of Nov 13, 2011, when gardaí called to the flat, she said she had been asleep on the couch and was not awake long before the officers arrived.

She said she did not think she had gone out on the street that night and said she had been wearing only her underwear at the time.

The detectives suggested it would have been unusual to see someone on the street in their underwear. Ms O’Connor replied: “You wouldn’t know with me.”

Isobel Kennedy, defending, told the jury that, with Ms O’Connor’s consent, the defence had conceded certain evidence, including evidence related to the forensic preservation of the scene at Bridge House, the identification of the deceased, and the chain of evidence in relation to evidence.

She said that because of the concession, the prosecution did not have to produce over 30 Garda witnesses.

The trial continues today.