01 Jul 2022

Kilkenny murder trial: Witness told gardai of alleged confession 20 years ago - court hears

Kilkenny murder trial: Accused confessed killing to teenagers

John Joe Malone

The former sister-in-law of a man charged with murdering a woman 30 years ago has told his trial that she reported his alleged confession to gardai about 20 years ago.

Ann Walsh was giving evidence to the Central Criminal Court this (Tuesday) morning in the trial of a 53-year-old man accused of murdering a widowed pensioner in Kilkenny.

John Joseph Malone is charged with murdering 69-year-old Ann ‘Nancy’ Smyth on 11th September 1987 at her home on Wolfe Tone Street in the city. She was strangled before fire was set to her house.

Mr Malone of Newpark in Kilkenny City has pleaded not guilty.

Ms Walshe had testified yesterday (Monday) that she had been married to the accused man’s brother, Bernard (Barney) Malone. She said the accused had confessed involvement in Nancy Smyth’s death to her on three occasions over the years. He had said he’d murdered her in the first confession.

She was cross examined by the defence today. She explained that the second confession happened while the accused was walking her home from a pub around 1996 when her husband was in prison.

She said he had told her that he was the best thing that ever happened to his brother. However, she said he suddenly changed completely.

“I don’t know what came over him,” she said. “He just turned around and said he would do the same thing to me as he had done to Nancy Smyth, he would burn my house down underneath me and my two kids.”

She said she reported this threat to Sergeant Eddie Geraghty.

“I asked him would he go up and just caution John Joe, and ask him not to come near my house,” she said.

She confirmed that she had told him everything that the accused had said that night.

“I would be very surprised if Eddie Geraghty didn’t remember,” she said.


Colman Cody SC, defending, suggested that his client had never said what she had alleged.

“I was there and I remember exactly what was said,” she replied.

Her cross examination continues this afternoon before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury.

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