Two jailed for life over Bandon murder

Wednesday 17 July 2013 22.49
1 of 3
A jury unanimously found Catherine O'Connor guilty of murder
A jury unanimously found Catherine O'Connor guilty of murder
Ciprian Grozavu was found guilty of murder last month
Ciprian Grozavu was found guilty of murder last month
Jonathan Duke's body was found with more than 100 separate injuries
Jonathan Duke's body was found with more than 100 separate injuries

A man and a woman have been jailed for life for the murder of Jonathan Duke in Bandon, Co Cork.

Catherine O'Connor, 37, of Bridge House, Sean Hales Place, Bandon, had denied the murder, but was convicted this morning.

A 39-year-old man she was living with, Ciprian Grozavu, had already been convicted of the murder and was also jailed for life today.

The body of Mr Duke was found with more than 100 separate injuries in November 2011, after he was beaten and stabbed before being dumped in a river.

The Central Criminal Court, sitting in Cork, was told that O'Connor laughed "like a hyena" after she had dumped his body.

The court heard that gardaí responded to a 999 call from Bridge House in Bandon on the night of 13 November 2011.

When they arrived the front door was open and a trail of blood led along the hall and the walls, up the stairs and along the landings until it reached the apartment at the top.

Inside, a towel on the floor in the centre of the room was surrounded by a pool of blood.

O'Connor was in the apartment, dressed in a black T-shirt and white underwear.

Her hands and feet were covered in blood.

Minutes later, gardaí found the body of 27-year-old father-of-one Jonathan Duke in the nearby Bandon river.

A white electrical flex was wrapped four times around his neck.

The cord from his grey hoodie was also used to strangle him.

He died of asphyxia and associated blunt and sharp-force trauma.

O'Connor and a man were heard lifting Jonathan Duke's body down the stairs from their flat, the court heard. 

There was a thump as the body passed each step, and O'Connor was heard saying: "Just drag him. He's dead anyway. He can't feel it."

Moments later they were seen dumping Mr Duke's body over railings into the river.

The other man with O'Connor was Ciprian Grozavu, with whom she had been sharing the flat at Bridge House.

There was anger in the town when O'Connor and Grozavu were arrested and charged with the murders two days later.

On the night Mr Duke was murdered, O'Connor told gardaí she had been taking magic mushrooms.

She also said she was on four bottles of vodka a day, often topping up with a mixture of valium, anti-depressants and cough mixture.

A jury of eight women and and four men unanimously found her guilty of murdering Mr Duke.

Grozavu was found guilty of his part in the murder last month, after a three-week trial.

Mr Justice Paul Carney imposed a life sentence on both.

When he asked what the motive for the murder was, he was told investigating gardaí had never established one, other than alcohol playing a huge role, and Mr Duke coming out the worst of it.