“I thought it was going to be a light touch, what did I do?” – Murder trial hears accused shouting uncontrollably to Gardaí

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A detective told a murder trial he saw the body of a 71-year-old pensioner with injuries to her neck and head and her left ear appeared to be missing when he entered her home.

The jury also heard murder accused Trevor Rowe tell Gardaí, “I thought it was going to be a light touch, what did I do.” He also told officers as he sat in the back of a squad car that he “just wanted her found” and that he “cut her throat and stabbed her in the head.”

Another Garda witness told the trial he found “a piece of an earlobe” on the couch where Ann Butler had been lying, and nearby were a metal crowbar and a Swiss army knife.

Mr Rowe, 29, with an address in Abbey Street, Kilkenny, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 71-year-old Mrs Butler at her home in Maudlin Street, Kilkenny, on March 20, 2020.

The trial has heard Mr Rowe tell a detective he “committed five other murders”, worked for the Kinahan cartel and was paid €5,500 “for one murder”.

When Gardaí called the accused’s apartment, the 29-year-old fell to his knees, wept uncontrollably and said: “I killed a woman. I murdered a woman. I cut her throat and stuck a knife in her head.”

Presenting evidence today, Detective Sergeant James O’Brien told Garrett McCormack BL, Prosecutors, that he received a call at 7.28pm on March 25 from Sergeant Jason Crotty informing him that at a house on Maudlin Street under a body had been discovered under suspicious circumstances.

Det Sgt O’Brien said he entered the house at 7.33pm and the heating was on. Immediately he got a very strong, overpowering and unpleasant smell.

The witness said he walked down the hall and looked into two bedrooms that appeared ransacked and very untidy.

He then walked into the main living area and noticed a deceased woman on the right side of a love seat. She had obvious injuries on her body and her skin was very discolored, he said.

“There were obvious injuries to the left side of her neck and an injury to her head where her left ear appeared to be missing,” the detective said.

The witness stayed in the house for two minutes and then left the house.

Mr Rowe, who was present outside the Maudlin Street house at the time, was then arrested and taken to Kilkenny Garda Station in a squad car.

Det Sgt O’Brien described the defendant’s behavior in the back of the squad car and said he was very visibly upset, in a very emotional state and sobbing. “In some places he cried and in other places he screamed,” he added.

The witness said Mr Rowe made several statements in the vehicle, including “I just wanted her found” and that he “cut her throat and stabbed her in the head last Friday”.

The court heard that the accused asked himself: “What have I done, what have I done?”.

“Sometimes he would sob and other times he would be aggressive. Once he hit the headrest of my seat quite aggressively, then he hit the squad car window,” he continued.

Det Sgt O’Brien said the defendant also said: “I thought it was going to be a light touch, what did I do.” The defendant also said in the patrol car that he had killed another woman next to John’s Bridge.

On cross-examination, detective Kathleen Leader SC agreed and defended that her client had said, “I thought it was a light touch”. The witness also agreed with the lawyer that Mr. Rowe had further said: “It [the touch] went wrong”.

Earlier, Sergeant Jason Crotty testified that he noticed bloodstains on the walls of the hall as he entered Maudlin Street. He said the temperature in the house was quite warm, the heating was on and the smell was pretty bad. Sergeant Crotty used his flashlight to look around the living room as it was quite dark. “I saw the body of a deceased woman on the couch with no sign of life and what I thought was a wound in the neck area,” he said. The witness said he contacted the previous witness to inform him of a woman’s body in suspicious circumstances and requested his presence at the scene.

This afternoon, Detective Garda Brian Barry said he went to the Maudlin Street house on March 26 and found no evidence of forced entry. Mrs. Butler, wearing a red cardigan and black trousers, lay on her right side on a love seat. She had an injury on the left side of her neck and her left earlobe was missing. Drops of blood, a metal crowbar, a Swiss army knife and some money were found in front of the dead man. The television was knocked over in a corner of the room and the doors of a wooden case opened.

The detective said he saw an open bottle of Baileys in a bloodstained bag from Dunnes Stores and an open can of Linden Village cider on a living room cabinet.

In the master bedroom of the semi-detached bungalow was an open jewelry box that was empty.

Det Gda Barry said he returned to the house the next day and found a wooden cross under a computer desk in a bedroom. “On the wooden cross was not the crucifixion of Jesus, [it was] just the wooden cross,” he said.

The witness said he also found “a piece of an earlobe” on the love seat the deceased was lying on. Three partial footprints from the front of the couch on which Ms. Butler had been lying were photographed.

Ann Butler’s daughter, Elaine Butler, told District Attorney John O’Kelly SC that from the age of three or four until she was 25, she lived with her mother in two different houses on Maudlin Street. She then moved into her own house and stopped by her mother’s a few times a week.

Ms Butler said she last saw her mother on March 18 but was unable to visit her the following week as she awaits the results of a Covid test.

The witness was shown a photograph of a wooden cross which Ms. Butler said had hung over the fireplace in her mother’s living room for some time. “It had a brass figure of Jesus and on the base of the cross was a rectangular piece that said INRI. When I was in the house in February, it wasn’t in the living room, there was another picture above the fireplace,” she said.

In his opening remarks, Mr O’Kelly said there would be forensic evidence of a number of items linking Mr Rowe to the site of Ms Butler’s death. One of the items was part of a crucifix, he said, which was in the deceased’s home and was later found in Mr Rowe’s possession.

The trial will continue tomorrow before Ms. Judge Karen O’Connor and a jury of seven men and five women.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/i-thought-it-was-going-to-be-an-easy-touch-what-have-i-done-murder-trial-hears-accused-cried-uncontrollably-to-gardai-41408103.html “I thought it was going to be a light touch, what did I do?” – Murder trial hears accused shouting uncontrollably to Gardaí

Fry Electronics Team

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