62-year-old man appears in court in connection with murder of pensioner found in burnt-out car in North Cork

62-year-old man appears in court in connection with murder of pensioner found in burnt-out car in North Cork

Michael Leonard, Kilmallock is led away after he was charged with murder of Mary O’Keeffe at Drumdeer at a special sitting of the Fermoy District, Court. Picture Dan Linehan

A 62 year old man has been charged with the murder of pensioner, Mary O’Keeffe, whose body was found in a burning car in Doneraile, Co Cork earlier this week.

Michael Leonard of Hillcrest, Glenosheen, Killmallock, Co Limerick appeared before Fermoy District Court charged with the murder contrary to common law on the 4th of February last of Mary O’Keeffe at Dromdeer East, Doneraile, Co Cork.

Inspector Tony O’Sullivan presented evidence of arrest, charge and caution at the special sitting of the Co Cork court which took place shortly after 11am today.

The court heard that at 11.53pm yesterday at Fermoy Garda Station Det Garda James O’Shea charged Mr Leonard with the murder of 72-year-old Mary O’Keeffe. He said that Mr Leonard made no reply when the charge was put to him under caution.

Brendan Gill, solicitor, representing Mr Leonard made an application for legal aid in the case which was granted by Judge Marie Keane. No applications can be made for bail at District Court level in murder cases.

Mr Gill asked that every medical assistance be given to Mr Leonard following his remand in custody. This includes psychological and physical assistance.

Judge Keane directed that a psychiatric assessment be carried out on Mr Leonard at Cork Prison.

Mr Leonard was remanded in custody to appear by video link at Cork District Court on February 12th next. The DPP has directed a trial by indictment in the case.

Two family members of the accused were in court for the short sitting. Mr Leonard was in court for the brief hearing. He was wearing a wine zipped hooded fleece and dark pants.

Ms O’Keeffe lived in Dromahane near Mallow in Co Cork and worked as a cook.

A post-mortem was carried out on her body at Cork University Hospital on Friday afternoon. The results of the post-mortem, which was carried out by Assistant State Pathologist Margaret Bolster, were not released.

The alarm was raised on Thursday afternoon when a passer by spotted a car on fire near the Coillte forest in Doneraile. Ms O’Keeffe was pronounced dead at the scene.

She is survived by her three sons. Funeral arrangements will be finalised in the coming days.

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