Accused in Cork murder trial tells court he didn't call ambulance because he didn't want to be 'victim number two'

Under cross-examination, Keith O’Hara said he did not want to get attacked by Helen Jones, adding, “She attacked me before.” 
Accused in Cork murder trial tells court he didn't call ambulance because he didn't want to be 'victim number two'

Keith O'Hara (pictured) has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering Paul Jones. 

The man on trial by judge and jury for murdering a 52-year-old man at Bandon Road in Cork city said he agreed when his co-accused told him not to call an ambulance because he didn’t want to be “victim number 2".

That was the evidence from Keith O’Hara about his co-accused, Helen Jones. Both of them deny murdering Paul Jones at his home on Bandon Road on September 4, 2019.

Brendan Grehan SC for Helen Jones said, “You go into the witness box – you lie, you lie and lie again to drag Helen Jones down with you.” 

Keith O’Hara said, “I did not kill Paul Jones.” 

Under cross-examination by Mr Grehan, O’Hara said he did not want to get attacked by Helen, adding, “She attacked me before.” 

Mr Grehan asked in a raised voice, “Is there nothing you would not say to do her down?” 

Keith O’Hara replied, “Do her down? I am sitting here because of her. She killed her brother.” 

Mr Grehan referred to witnesses hearing her shouting stop and he asked O’Hara what that was about, “Your client murdered her brother. The dogs and the cat and the rat all know Helen killed her brother.” 

Bill-hook

Mr Grehan asked, “And the fella with the bill-hook, what did he do?” O’Hara replied, “I did not kill him anyway.” 

Keith O’Hara told his own senior counsel Tom Creed, about what he said happened on the night in question, “I got out of the cab after about 30 seconds. 

"My intention was to take Helen away from the door – to get out of it. I saw Paul swinging for Helen. He had something in his hand swiping it at Helen.

“I pushed him and took it out of his hand and hit him on the head with it. I will be forever sorry about that. I had no idea it was the bill-hook that was in court. I just saw something black in his hand and grabbed it.

“I stumbled inside the door into a load of blood a few feet inside the door… Helen trampled on the blood and splashed it on to my left leg.

“When I left, he (Paul Jones) was alive. His eyes were open and he said, ‘I don’t know’.” 

His senior counsel Tom Creed asked Keith O’Hara what he thought Paul Jones meant, he said, “I thought he was answering – delayed answer – about where the blood came from.” 

Keith O’Hara said that as Paul Jones lay on the floor with blood everywhere he saw Helen Jones get on top of her brother. 

“She straddled him in the waist and it looked like punches on the right side of the body. I thought she was punching him.

“I was shocked, feeling sick. I never saw so much blood in my life. I never want to see it again,” Keith O’Hara said.

Mr Creed SC asked, “How long was she punching him?” He replied, “A good few seconds anyway… I said to Helen, ring an ambulance. She said, ‘No, keep out of it you, it’s a Jones family feud, keep your mouth shut.’” 

Mr Creed SC asked, “Why did you agree?” He replied, “Though I didn’t see the knife in her hand at that stage I didn’t want to be victim number 2.” 

He said Helen Jones handed him the bill-hook around the corner at MacCurtain Villas and he threw it away. Mr Creed asked him why he thought Helen Jones did this. 

He replied, “I don’t know, maybe to implicate me in what she did. I seen with my own two eyes Helen had a knife. It was a knife she had next to her bed in the bedroom. I said, ‘Your brother is bleeding to death, call an ambulance’. She reiterated her point – it was a Jones family feud, I was to keep my mouth shut and stay out of it.” 

He said the reason he got the tattoo of the name, Helen, on his neck was to annoy his ex-partner.

INTENTION

Asked what his intention was when he went to 108 Bandon Road, he said, “I did not want Helen to get hit by it. I did not want to get hit by it. It was more or less self-defence… 

"A day has not passed that I have not felt sorry for Paul. Maybe in some other life the Jones family will forgive me for my part in what happened that night. He was a nice man.” 

O’Hara said Helen Jones took the bill-hook and the knife from 108 Bandon Road.

Keith O’Hara said taxi driver Pat Moynihan was the one who told him that he saw something in Paul Jones’ hand. Siobhán Lankford SC for the prosecution said Mr Moynihan never gave this evidence and that this was the first time anyone suggested he saw Paul Jones with something in his hand.

Ms Lankford said of the blow to the head sustained by Paul Jones with the bill-hook, “This is a powerful blow, it is a proper wallop on the top of the head. What you did was not a tap or a whack, it had real force behind it.” 

Keith O’Hara said, “I accept that.” 

Ms Lankford said, “You were inside in the house when Helen Jones was stabbing – or you were stabbing. All of this was going on when you were inside in the house?” The accused man replied, “No.” 

Asked about the different account he gave to gardaí, he said of his garda interviews, “I was cowardly then. I was lying then.” 

Ms Lankford said to the accused towards the end of her cross-examination, “You were an enthusiastic participant in what happened on the night.”

Keith O’Hara said, “No.” He agreed when Ms Lankford said, “Yourself and Helen Jones walked out of it without a scratch.” 

Helen Jones’ senior counsel Brendan Grehan said they would not be giving evidence. His cross-examination of Keith O’Hara is to continue.

Charges

Helen Jones, 54, of 27 Cahergal Avenue, Mayfield, Cork, pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering Paul Jones – her 52-year-old brother at his home - on September 4 2019 at 108 Bandon Road, Cork.

Her co-accused Keith O’Hara, 43, also of 27 Cahergal Avenue, also pleaded not guilty to the same murder charge.

Each defendant is additionally charged with a different count related to alleged trespass at the same time and place. Helen Jones is charged with trespass to cause serious harm while carrying a knife. Keith O’Hara is charged with trespassing to commit serious harm. The defendants also pleaded not guilty to these charges.

As a result of two jurors failing to appear last the week the case continues in front of Mr Justice Michael McGrath and a jury of ten.

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