05 Oct 2022

Woman (71) was found with lacerations and head injury, Kilkenny murder trial hears

Trevor Rowe (29), with an address at Abbey Street, Kilkenny has pleaded not guilty to murdering 71-year-old Ann Butler


Central Criminal Court, Dublin

A detective has told a murder trial he saw that a 71-year-old pensioner had lacerations to the neck, an injury to her head and her left ear appeared to be missing when he entered her home.

The jury has also heard that murder accused Trevor Rowe told gardai: "I thought it was going to be an easy touch, what have I done." He also told officers when he was sitting in the back of a patrol car that he "just wanted her to be found" and that he had "slit her throat and stabbed her in the head".

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

The trial has heard that Mr Rowe told a detective that he had committed 'five other murders', was working for the Kinahan Cartel and received €5,500 "for doing a murder". 

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". 

Giving evidence today, Detective Sergeant James O'Brien told Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting, that he got a phone call from Sergeant Jason Crotty at 7.28pm on March 25 informing him that a body had been discovered at a house on Maudlin Street in suspicious circumstances.

Det Sgt O'Brien said he entered the house at 7.33pm and that the heating appeared to be on. Immediately, he got a very strong, overpowering and unpleasant smell. 

The witness said he walked down the hallway and looked into two bedrooms, which appeared to be ransacked and very untidy.  He then went into the main sitting room area and noticed a deceased female on the right side of a two-seater couch. She had obvious injuries to her body and her skin had gone very discoloured, he said. 

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

The witness remained inside for two minutes and then left the house. 

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

Describing the accused's demeanour in the back of the patrol car, Det Sgt O'Brien said he was very visibly upset, that he was in a very emotive state and was sobbing. "At some stages he was crying and at some stages shouting," he added. 

The witness said Mr Rowe made several statements in the vehicle including "I just wanted her to be found" and that he had "slit her throat and stabbed her in the head last Friday".

The court heard that the defendant asked himself "what have I done, what have I done". 

"Sometimes he was sobbing and other times was aggressive. At one stage he punched the headrest of my seat quite aggressively then he struck the window of the patrol car," he continued.

Det Sgt O'Brien said the accused also stated: "I thought it was going to be an easy touch, what have I done". The defendant also said in the patrol car that he had killed another woman beside John's Bridge. 

Under cross-examination, the detective agreed with Kathleen Leader SC, defending, that her client had said "I thought it was an easy touch". The witness also agreed with the barrister that Mr Rowe had gone on to say "it [the touch] went wrong". 

Earlier, Sergeant Jason Crotty testified that he noticed blood marks on the walls of the hall when he entered Maudlin Street. He said the temperature inside the house was quite warm, that the heating was on and there was a fairly strong unpleasant odour in the air.

Sgt Crotty used his torch to see around the living room as it was quite dark. "I saw what appeared to be the body of a deceased female on the couch with no sign of life and what I thought was a wound to the neck area," he said. The witness said he contacted the previous witness to inform him of what appeared to be the body of a female in suspicious circumstances and request his attendance at the scene. 

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

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