Westmeath man charged with murdering the mother of his children

Danny Keena Murder Trial Day One - Morning

Natasha Reid

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Natasha Reid

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newsroom@longfordleader.ie

Danny Keena Murder Trial Day One

A Westmeath man has gone on trial, charged with murdering the mother of his children by strangling her in her home two years ago.

A Westmeath man has gone on trial, charged with murdering the mother of his children by strangling her in her home two years ago.


Danny Keena of Empor, Ballynacargy, Co Westmeath is charged with the murder of 41-year-old Brigid Maguire at Main Street, Ballynacargy on November 14, 2015.


The 54-year-old was arraigned before the Central Criminal Court this morning (Tuesday, October 3) and pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty to her manslaughter.


However, this plea was not accepted by the Director of Public Prosecutions and a jury of seven men and five women was sworn in to hear his trial.


Remy Farrell SC, prosecuting, told the jury that the accused and the deceased had been partners since the 1990s and had two teenage children together.


He explained that the family had lived in Empor, but the relationship between the couple had become fraught and had broken down by 2015. Ms Maguire and their two children eventually moved into a house on the main street of the small village of Ballynacargy.


Mr Farrell said that one of the first witnesses in the trial would be the couple’s daughter, Jade, who had found her mother lying on the floor that night. She had tried to get help, but it emerged that her mother had been dead for some time; she had been strangled.


The barrister said that suspicion had immediately fallen on the accused for a number of reasons, including the fact that he was nowhere to be seen.


“He had effectively gone on the run and had slept rough,” he said, explaining that he had turned up at a neighbour’s house the following day and admitted the killing.


“What you’re going to have to decide is: Did he intend to do so?” explained the barrister. “In this case, you’re going to have to consider what was the natural and probable consequence of strangulation.”


Mr Farrell also explained that a manslaughter conviction could arise out of a defence of provocation, where the deceased had said or done something to make the accused lose total self control.


“So, an exceptional situation,” he suggested, explaining that there had to be no time for passions to cool.


“That may be something you’ll have to consider here,” he continued. Strangulation is not something that occurs in the blink of an eye.”


He said there’d be evidence in the case that Brigid Maguire fought for her life.


The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy this afternoon and is expected to last five days.