05 Oct 2022

'I can't even close my f***ing eyes with the nightmare I see', Kilkenny murder-accused told gardaí


Accused: Trevor Rowe

A man accused of murdering a pensioner in her Kilkenny home told gardai that he could not tell them what had happened, adding that: "It wouldn't do her family any good to know. I can't even close my f***ing eyes with the nightmare I see."

Trevor Rowe also told officers that he had made anonymous phone calls to gardai because he just wanted "the woman found" and was ashamed of what he had done, his Central Criminal Court trial has heard.

When gardai put it to Trevor Rowe that what happened to 71-year-old Ann Butler was not "a nice thing", the accused replied: "It's not; it's disgusting, it's horrible, it's inhumane". 

 Mr Rowe (29), with an address at Abbey Street, Kilkenny has pleaded not guilty to murdering 71-year-old Ms 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".

Last Friday, a garda witness told the trial that Mr Rowe could be seen on CCTV footage walking in the direction of Ms Butler's house on the night she was killed.

Member-in-charge Garda Colm McMenamin testified today that Mr Rowe was arrested on suspicion of murdering Ms Butler at 7.38pm on March 25. The garda told the court that at one stage, while he was sitting on his bunk in the cell and shaking his head, the accused said: "What the fuck have I done, it's only hitting home now".

The next witness, Detective Sergeant Brian Sheeran, told Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting, that the first interview took place with Mr Rowe in Kilkenny Garda Station on March 26, when the accused said he "just wanted the woman found".

When gardai asked the defendant why that was, Mr Rowe said: "Because I wanted the woman found, she is found now, that is good enough for me. I'm happy with that."

The defendant said he takes 90 mgs of methadone every day and agreed that it was keeping him away from "the gear" but he would have the "odd slip". "Listen, you don't know what it's like to be sick on drugs," he added.

Mr Rowe said he did not remember being arrested the previous night.

When gardai put it to him that he had something on his mind, that he had told gardai what he did and then took gardai to the deceased's house. The accused said: "I don't even remember that, I took you to the house?"

When asked why he had rang 999, the accused said "cause I wanted her found".

Gardai asked Mr Rowe why he felt the need to do this and he replied "cause I needed to".

"How will it be better for me, I will be sitting behind bars for the rest of my life," said Mr Rowe.

When detectives asked Mr Rowe why he told them where Ms Butler was, he said: "Cause I was going to end up taking my own life and no one knows what happened".

"I was going to write a letter, the woman didn't believe me on the phone [on Tuesday] and she thought it was a joke. I told her that I murdered someone," he said.

The accused said he had not told the woman on the phone who he was but that he had about six phones at home, that he took the SIM out of one of the phones and had dialled 999.

Referring to the night of March 20, Mr Rowe said it was the first time he had drunk in four years. "I took 40 D5's [Diazepam] and cans of Budweiser," he said, adding that he had taken them before the incident on Maudlin Street.

The accused repeated to gardai that "all I wanted was for her to be found, that's all".

When asked if he knew Ms Butler, the accused said he had never seen her in his life.

"Did you know she was there?" asked gardai. "I didn't," replied the accused.

When asked if there was a reason he "picked on" Ms Butler or did he have a history with her, the defendant nodded "No". He said he had never been in the house before March 20 and would usually never go across "that side" and "stays this side".

At one stage, Mr Rowe said he would put his head through the window if he did not get out of the interview room.

Garda told the accused that Ms Butler's family were entitled to know what happened to her as he had come forward, held his hand out and asked to be heard. "She has closure as she has been found," he replied. 

In his second interview on March 26 at 3.24pm, the accused said the drugs affected his memory, that he does "a bit of crack" and he just felt "so bad" for Ms Butler.

When gardai asked him to tell them the truth of what "went on" in the house, Mr Rowe said: "I can't please". "I can't, I just can't," he continued.

Det Sgt Sheeran agreed with Mr McCormack that the accused had put his head between his knees at this stage and began crying. 

When asked again about what happened on Maudlin Street, Mr Rowe said it was "not going to bring her back". 

He continued: "I didn't know her name until they said her name in the last interview". 

When asked again to explain what happened in the house, Mr Rowe said: "I can't". 

Gardai put it to him that things had gotten completely out of control that night and asked him how this had happened. "I don't know. I just remember taking 40 tablets at 9.30am in the morning and a 12 case of Bud," he said.

When shown CCTV footage of him walking up John Street to Maudlin Street at 9.50pm on March 20 and walking back down at 10.42pm, Mr Rowe said it was not him.  He was asked how things went so far that night, Mr Rowe said: "I don't know". 

Asked if he did anything sexual to Ms Butler, he said "no not like that". "I can't, I can't. I just want you to know that I didn't do anything sexual to her," he insisted. 

When asked again what happened in the house, Mr Rowe said: "I can't. It wouldn't do her family any good to know. I can't even close my f***ing eyes with the nightmare I see". 

He told gardai "of course" he was ashamed of what he did. "All my head is feeling like it's going to explode," he added. When asked if he had met Ms Butler before, the accused said "it was just random".

He was also asked why he went to that specific house on Maudlin Street. "Just random I suppose, it could have been anyone else's". The defendant said he did not know that a woman was living there. 

He was asked by gardai what his intention was going into the house that night. "I don't know what looking for, don't know what I was doing [sic]". He then said he went in the front door of Ms Butler's house. 

He said he rang emergency services "just so the body would be found" and because of "remorse". 

At the end of the second interview, gardai put it to Mr Rowe that it was not a nice thing that had happened that night. "It's not; it's disgusting, it's horrible, it's inhumane," he replied. 

Detective Sergeant James O'Brien has told the trial he saw that the body of Ms Butler had lacerations to the neck, an injury to the head and her left ear appeared to be missing when he entered her home.

The jury has also heard that murder accused Mr Rowe told gardai: "I thought it was going to be an easy touch, what have I done."

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

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