Latest: Victim impact statements in Cork murder trial to be read in court tomorrow

Latest: Victim impact statements in Cork murder trial to be read in court tomorrow

(Left to right) Helen Jones and Keith O'Hara

The 54-year-old Cork woman who fell out with her two brothers over the inheritance of the family home will start a life sentence tomorrow for murdering one of them.

Helen Jones was found guilty of murdering her 55-year-old brother Paul Jones over two years ago.

She now fears she could become ill listening to the impact that the violent murder has had on the Jones family and has asked to be excused from the courtroom when the evidence is being given.

The jury of ten people took three hours and 45 minutes to deliver their unanimous verdict that Helen Jones is guilty of murdering her brother, Paul Jones, at his home on Bandon Road just over two years ago.

Her then partner Keith O’Hara has also been found guilty of murdering Paul Jones.

Helen Jones put her head into her hands when the unanimous guilty verdict was delivered against her.

Keith O’Hara gave no visible reaction.

While mandatory life sentences will be imposed on each of the accused, Mr Justice Michael McGrath adjourned formal sentencing until tomorrow so that victim impact evidence can be heard from members of the deceased’s family.

Brendan Grehan SC asked the judge if it would be possible for Helen Jones to remain in her custodial cell at the courthouse on Anglesea Street when the evidence is given at the sentencing hearing at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork. Mr Grehan said Helen Jones feared she could become ill listening to victim impact evidence. Mr Justice McGrath said this issue could be addressed tomorrow.

Guilty verdict

Helen Jones, 54, of 27 Cahergal Avenue, Mayfield, Cork, was found guilty of murdering Paul Jones – her 55-year-old brother - at his home at 108 Bandon Road, Cork, on September 4 2019 at 108 Bandon Road, Cork.

Her co-accused Keith O’Hara, 43, also of 27 Cahergal Avenue, was found guilty on the same murder charge. Each defendant was also found guilty of a related trespass charge - trespass to cause serious harm while carrying a knife in the case of Helen Jones, and trespass to commit serious harm in O’Hara’s case.

While the murder dates back to September 2019 the genesis of the case goes back to July 2013 when they read the will left by William Jones. He changed his will two months before he died and in this version, he left 27 Cahergal Avenue not to his three adult children but to his two sons, Paul and Liam. The provision he made for Helen Jones was that she could live there until she married.

The inheritance of the house caused a row between Helen Jones and her two brothers. It was resolved – if only on paper – in May 2019 on the eve of a civil court inheritance battle, when they agreed that the house would be sold and Helen Jones given €50,000 from the proceeds. However, after several weeks on the market, Liam Jones decided to take the house off the market with the auctioneer and to re-start the sale process with another agent.

Tensions rose to the point where Helen Jones and her then fiancée left the disputed house, where they lived, at around 9.30pm on the night of the murder. Much was made of the fact that Helen Jones was hardly “dressed to kill” in her dressing gown and slipper socks.

But on the basis of a jigsaw of testimonies from people passing 108 Bandon Road that night the jury heard enough to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Helen Jones and Keith O’Hara murdered Paul Jones. 

They left his house “without a scratch”. That was in stark contrast to Paul Jones who had 25 stab wounds to his body – seven of them more than 10 centimetres deep.

The two murderers were in the house for less than five minutes.

According to the chief state pathologist, Dr Linda Mulligan, it could have taken Paul Jones 30 to 60 minutes to die in the pool of blood in the hallway of his small house on Bandon Road where he was not found until three days later.

The last thing the jury asked for – minutes before delivering the guilty verdicts – were some of the exhibits in the case, namely the dressing gown, the slipper socks and the machete.

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