The Cork woman murdered for a few thousand euro

The Cork woman murdered for a few thousand euro

Ann Corcoran, who disappeared 10 years ago and was discovered to have been murdered by Oliver Hayes.

A MASS for murder victim Ann Corcoran in Kilbrittain tonight will be followed by the unveiling of a plaque in honour of all those who helped search for her when she disappeared ten years ago.

Tonight’s Mass at 8pm will take place in the local church where her funeral Mass was held a decade ago, beside the cemetery where she now lies with her beloved husband, Jerry.

Her killer, Bandon man Oliver Hayes, is serving a life sentence for her murder.

After tonight’s Mass, a plaque donated by a relative of Ann Corcoran will be unveiled in the local community centre, which was the focal point for the large numbers of people who came to Kilbrittain to search for her.

The centre was also a place where Ann regularly attended dances with friends before she died.

Chairman of the local community alert group, Michael Twohig, said gardaí and the civil defence who had been involved in the search have been invited to the plaque unveiling tonight.

The search had been organised by the community alert group.

Mr Twohig said: “There was a huge reaction.”

He said people came from all over Cork county to search for the popular woman and added: “There were so many local people involved. Every family was involved in some way.”

At the end of her funeral Mass, many of those who had been involved in the search formed a guard of honour outside the church.

The remains of the late Ann Corcoran are shouldered by family members after her funeral mass in St. Patricks church in Kilbrittain, January 2008. Picture Dan Linehan
The remains of the late Ann Corcoran are shouldered by family members after her funeral mass in St. Patricks church in Kilbrittain, January 2008. Picture Dan Linehan

One of those also involved in the search was local man Ger O’Donovan.

He said Ann was a private person who kept herself to herself. But he said everyone knew her and he got involved because he lived near relatives of hers.

He added: “I can see her house from my own place.”

Ann Corcoran lived at Maulnaskimlehane, outside Kilbrittain, in the home she had shared with her husband Jerry before his death in 2007.

She was just 60 years old when she was killed.

She lived on her own with her two dogs after Jerry’s death. The couple had no children.

She was described as a private person by many who knew her. She was also a religious woman who attended Mass regularly.

She was last seen alive in Garrettstown on January 18 and had been talking to someone on the phone on January 19 – before she was abducted by Oliver Hayes.

He was a painter who lived in Clancool in Bandon. He had known Ann’s late husband and was 49 at the time of the murder.

Her disappearance caused concern quickly because on previous occasions, she had notified gardaí if taking holidays.

This time, she had not made any arrangements with anyone and a painter who had gone to her home became concerned.

She drove a green Peugeot car which Oliver Hayes had driven her to Bandon in after he broke into her house and abducted her.

The court heard how he had murdered Mrs Corcoran after abducting her and assaulting her in a bid to get her PIN number for her bank card.

He had denied murder but admitted falsely imprisoning her and stealing €3,000 from her bank account.

At the time of the killing, he owed thousands of euro in bills.

Ann Corcoran's killer, Bandon man Oliver Hayes, is serving a life sentence for her murder. Picture Dan Linehan
Ann Corcoran's killer, Bandon man Oliver Hayes, is serving a life sentence for her murder. Picture Dan Linehan

He had tied her up, assaulted with a stick and a piece of a kitchen countertop.

Hayes left her dying in his house in Clancool in Bandon.

He had also gone on holidays to Austria with his then-girlfriend and her son after killing Ann Corcoran.

He told gardaí he had gone to Ann Corcoran’s house to feed her dogs after abducting her, and said he was kind to animals.

He went to his girlfriend’s home as normal the day after he took Mrs Corcoran from her home.

His victim had died by that point.

He regularly attended meetings of a local camera club, continuing as normal to attend the meeting two days after abducting Mrs Corcoran.

He also attended a party that week.

In an interview with gardaí after his arrest, he became emotional when speaking about his childhood. He said that his mother left him with a neighbour’s daughters at the age of nine months while she and the neighbour went to Knock for a week or two.

He added: “They came back from Knock and they said I could stay for another while.

“Week by week went by. It was grand because it was one less mouth to feed. My father was only an ordinary labourer.”

His court case heard that he had eight previous convictions — including one for the burglary of an elderly woman’s home and threatening another woman with a knife.

He is now serving a mandatory life sentence and his release will be at the discretion of the Parole Board.

At his sentencing hearing, Judge Paul Carney said there was gratuitous violence involved in the killing of the 60-year-old widow from Kilbrittain.

He also said that Hayes showed a lack of genuine remorse and said that as recently as his trial, he described himself as much of a victim as the unfortunate woman he had bludgeoned to death.

Timeline: From Ann’s disappearance to Oliver Hayes’s conviction for murder

WHEN Ann Corcoran disappeared, ten years ago, a major search got underway.

January 18, 2009: The 60-year-old widow, from Maulnaskimlehane, Kilbrittain, was last seen in Garrettstown, where she met a friend.

January 19: She had her last phone call, with a friend, before being abducted that evening from her home by a man she knew through her husband. That man was called Oliver Hayes. He tied her up and took her to his house in Clancool, Bandon, in the back of her car. He later admitted he beat her with a stick and the top of a kitchen table, after she gave him her PIN number for her bank card. Hayes went to her home to locate her bank card, leaving her in his house. She was still alive when he returned home.

January 20: Hayes found her dead that morning, but left her body in his house.

January 21: He went to a camera club meeting in Clonakilty, while the dead woman’s body remained in his house. He withdrew money from her bank account.

January 22: He removed the body to a wood near Ballinspittle that night, burning the body before covering it with stones. He returned to her house to feed her dogs.

January 24: Hayes went to Austria on holidays with his girlfriend and her son, after moving Ann Corcoran’s car from Clancool.

January 28: The search for her got underway when her green Peugeot car was found at Old Chapel, on the outskirts of Bandon town. A painter had gone to her home, but found it locked, with her dogs inside.

Locals taking part in the search for Ann Corcoran from Kilbrittian parish hall in2008. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Locals taking part in the search for Ann Corcoran from Kilbrittian parish hall in2008. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Gardaí, the Civil Defence, and hundreds of members of the public searched the Bandon and Kilbrittain areas. Gardaí checked CCTV, her bank accounts, phone traffic, and the movements of her car. Her car had been parked near Bandon Bridge school for a few days, before being moved to Old Chapel.

January 31: Hayes returned from holidays.

February 5: He was arrested. His house was searched by gardaí.

February 6: Gardaí sealed off a scene at Kilmore, a remote wood in the outer Ballinspittle area, close to Garrettstown, after Hayes drew a map of where he had taken the dead woman. The discovery of Ann’s body was confirmed by gardaí just after 3pm.

The body was removed from the scene less than two hours later and taken to Cork University Hospital for a postmortem examination. Hayes appeared in Bandon District Court, charged with the disappearance of the Kilbrittain woman.

April 30: Hayes was charged with murder.

February 15, 2010: Hayes went on trial for the murder. He admitted manslaughter, but denied murder. He also admitted false imprisonment and the theft of €3,000 from her bank account.

March 4: Hayes was found guilty of the murder.

March 10: He was sentenced to life imprisonment and was also given a 10-year sentence for five counts of theft, for one attempted theft, and for the false imprisonment of Ann Corcoran.

October 29, 2010: Hayes unsuccessfully appealed his conviction. He remains in prison.

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