John Joe Malone
A Kilkennyman convicted of the callous murder of a pensioner at her home on Wolfe Tone Street in Kilkenny City has lodged an appeal which is due to be heard before the Court of Criminal Appeal.
John Joseph Malone (53), of Newpark, Kilkenny was found guilty last April of the murder of Ann Nancy Smyth (69) on September 11, 1987 on Wolfe Tone Street.
He has lodged an appeal on a number of grounds including that he has suffered ‘an irredeemable prejudice because of the delay of three decades in prosecuting the offences’, that some witnesses were unavailable during the trial to test the allegations that were made by the prosecution as they were now deceased and that because of the 30-year delay there may be a ‘frailty of memory’ with some witnesses.
Ms Smyth was a widow who lived alone. Her husband had died the previous year and she was described as lonely and had taken to sleeping on a chair in the living room. She was strangled and beaten before her house was set on fire.
Malone was first interviewed by gardaí a few days after Ms Smyth’s body was found.
At first he denied being near her home, but in later garda interviews admitted arguing with her outside the house about a pigeon. He denied attacking her or setting the house on fire. There was no forensic evidence available to gardaí.
The investigation into Ms Smyth’s death received a boost in 2012 when, following an appeal for information that was recommended by the Serious Crime Review Team, several witnesses came forward.
Each of them told gardai that Malone, the chief suspect, had confessed to Nancy Smyth’s murder.
Malone, who was on bail when his murder trial began last March had his bail revoked after he was seen shouting abuse at the home of Eileen Kelly (81) days before she was due to give evidence against him.
After the verdict, Mr Des Murphy, a nephew of Ms Smyth issued a statement on behalf of her family.
“What happened to Nancy on that night had a major effect on all members of our family... Closure is there,” said Mr Murphy before Judge Patrick McCarthy imposed a life sentence on Malone.