30 Sept 2022

Kilkenny murder accused told detective he committed 'five other murders', trial hears

Trevor Rowe also told gardaí he was working for the Kinahan Cartel and received €5,500 'for doing a murder'

Trial of man accused of murdering Kilkenny pensioner opens at Central Criminal Court

Accused: Trevor Rowe

A man accused of murdering a 71-year-old pensioner in her home told a detective that he had committed 'five other murders', was working for the Kinahan Cartel and received €5,500 'for doing a murder', his trial has heard.

When gardai called to the defendant's home, the 29-year-old fell to his knees, cried uncontrollably and said: "I killed a woman. I murdered a woman. I slit her throat and stuck a knife in her head". 

Trevor Rowe (29), with an address at Abbey Street, Kilkenny has pleaded not (NOT) guilty to murdering 71-year-old Ann Butler at her home at Maudlin Street, Kilkenny on March 20, 2020. 

Giving evidence today, Detective Garda Martin Power of Kilkenny Garda Station told John O'Kelly SC, prosecuting, that he was on duty at 6.40pm on March 25 when he went to assist his colleagues on Cathedral Street, who were investigating the source of several anonymous phone calls made to the 999 emergency services call centre in Waterford.

The detective said he was aware that the caller had indicated that he had murdered a woman, that her body was at the rear of Langton's Hotel and if this was not taken seriously then he would commit another murder.

When he called to the accused's house, Det Gda Power said the door was opened and he could hear an incoherent voice, which he believed was Mr Rowe's, coming from upstairs in the property. 

The detective walked upstairs into an open plan living room and met Mr Rowe, who was standing in front of the couch and appeared to be rummaging with both hands behind his back. 

Det Gda Power said the accused recognised him. "I asked him what he was doing with his hands and he pulled out two screwdrivers, one in each hand. I asked him to leave the screwdrivers down and he complied with my request and left them aside," he said.

The witness said he then asked the accused what knowledge he had of the 999 phone calls. "He walked around the back of the couch and fell to his knees crying uncontrollably," he said.

The detective testified that the accused then said to him: "I killed a woman. I murdered a woman. I slit her throat and stuck a knife in her head on March 20 at Maudlin Street". 

Det Gda Power explained to Mr Rowe that gardai had conducted a search of Maudlin Street and nobody had been located. "He said it was the second house behind Langtons," said the detective.

The witness asked Mr Rowe if he would show him where the body was on Maudlin Street and the accused agreed to take him there. "He was clearly under the influence of intoxicants and I observed bottles of Budweiser in his flat," he added. 

Det Gda Power said the accused them claimed to have committed five other murders, was working for the "Kinahan's" and got paid €5,500 "for doing a murder". 

"I know Trevor Rowe over 20 years and I didn't believe him when he proclaimed he had murdered anyone," said the detective.

Mr Rowe was placed in an unmarked patrol car and requested gardai to stop the vehicle when they arrived at Maudlin Street, just a short distance away from Langtons car park.

Det Gda Power said he walked further up Maudlin Street with the accused and at that point Mr Rowe fell to the ground, broke down crying and indicated the area to him. 

"I knocked on a door and spoke to a male who answered the door and he said he was fine. I asked who was in the house next door with the red door. I then knocked on it and got no reply," he said.

The detective said he opened the door because it was unlocked and as he did "a gush of heat" hit him along with a smell of what he believed to be a decaying body. "It was so strong I had to cover my nose and mouth with my hand and immediately closed the door," he said.

The witness asked his colleague to check if there was a body in the house and he confirmed that there was a female body in a room and that the circumstances of her death appeared suspicious. 

"Mr Rowe was at the top of the steps and on the ground crying uncontrollably, asking that he not be brought into the house as he did not want to see the body," said the officer.

Mr Rowe was arrested at 7.38pm that evening on suspicion of the murder of Ms Butler and conveyed to Kilkenny Garda Station. 

The witness said the accused was clearly upset in the patrol car and at times resorted to hitting the seat in front saying "what have I done, I just wanted her to be found". The accused said he had slit the woman's throat and put a knife in her head. 

"He also said he murdered another woman, cut her head off and threw it over John's Bridge and left her body at the back of the river," said the detective. 

Under cross-examination, Det Gda Power told defence counsel Kathleen Leader SC that he knew Mr Rowe for the last 20 years and was on first name terms with him. He agreed that the accused came from a troubled and disadvantaged background and whilst his mother did the best to look after him, she had her own problems. He also said that Mr Rowe's circumstances would have been difficult when he was young and authorities had been involved in his care from a very early age. 

Det Gda Power said he was aware of Mr Rowe's drug and alcohol dependency. The witness agreed that the accused was respectful towards him, a conscientious person and was "a pleasure to deal with" in the garda station. In those circumstances at the time, Det Gda Power agreed he did not believe that Mr Rowe was capable of killing someone. "I wouldn't have known him to be a person of violence," he said, further agreeing that it was only when he knew someone was dead in the house did he proceed on the basis that Mr Rowe had killed them. 

The trial continues tomorrow before Ms Justice Karen O'Connor and a jury of seven men and five women. 

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