A Westmeath man has gone on trial, charged with murdering the mother of his children by strangling her in her home two years ago.
The teenage son of a man, who strangled the boy’s mother, became emotional as he testified during his father’s murder trial this morning, describing the accused having previously threatened to kill her.
The boy, who is not being named because of his age, was giving evidence to the Central Criminal Court via live television link this morning (Thursday, October 5).
Danny Keena of Empor, Ballynacargy, Co Westmeath is charged with the murder of 43-year-old Brigid Maguire by strangling her.
The 55-year-old farmer has pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty to her manslaughter at Main Street, Ballynacargy on November 14, 2015.
The child became upset as soon as Remy Farrell SC, prosecuting, asked him to describe what it was like when he and his sister were living with their parents in Empor.
“It was really sad because he’d never leave my mother alone and he’d always pick on her,” he replied. “He’d threaten her and say everything was your fault and all this. He would say I’d kill you.”
He was asked if he remembered an incident with milk.
“My mother got her hair done and he just came with the milk and spilled it all over her hair and she’d done nothing to him,” he replied. “I told her I hated him for what he did, for what he would be doing to her.”
He also recalled being woken one night when he was in sixth class.
“I walked in and he held the hammer and was threatening her,” he said. “I was so scared that me and my sister were trying to protect her. He told us to go away but we didn’t.”
He said his father then went and got a poker.
“Only for we were there that night,” he began. “If I went away, he would have done something really bad to my mother.”
He said he had to go back to bed.
“He wouldn’t let us leave,” he explained. “I slept with my mother but I couldn’t sleep at all.”
He said he used to ask his father why he had to take everything out on his mother.
He recalled that he, his mother and sister finally moved out in September, 2015, but that they had tried to leave before that.
“He’d never let her. He’d always find a way to stop her,” he said. “When we moved that time, he was at work.”
He said it was good to get away.
“Mammy was happy,” he said. “But, he started threatening her again. He used to call into the house.”
Under cross examination by Colm Smyth SC, defending, he agreed that he had enjoyed going to football matches with his father at weekends.
He was asked again about the incident with the milk and became so upset that he was given a break from testifying.
The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of seven men and five women.
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Danny Keena Murder Trial Day Two - Afternoon - Accused tells court 'I knew I was after killing her and that’s when I panicked'