A 67-year-old man has been found not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of a woman in Co Westmeath four years ago.

Jimmy Devaney, a retired member of the Defence Forces, of Millbrook Avenue, Monksland, Athlone, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Marie Greene in Westmeath on 13 February 2011.

However, he admitted manslaughter and said he lost control and stabbed her a number of times because she had been blackmailing him.

An 11-member jury at the Central Criminal Court returned its unanimous verdict after four hours 23 minutes of deliberation since yesterday.

Mr Devaney was remanded in custody for sentence on 2 November.

The trial heard that Ms Greene, who was working as a prostitute, was last seen alive on the evening of 13 February 2011 and her body was found in a bog near Ballykieran outside Athlone nine days later.

Devaney told gardaí he lost control during a struggle and "just kept stabbing" Ms Greene.

He said she had been blackmailing him for years and was threatening to tell his wife. He said he had given her up to €40,000, half of that in the previous six months.

Devaney told gardaí that on the night of the killing he had driven out to the bog to talk to her and a struggle ensued during which she produced a knife.

He said she was also going to get her brothers after him. He denied bringing the knife to the bog. However a relative of the accused told the trial he recognised the knife as one which had been left by him in Devaney's home.

The court was told that two other men told gardaí they had been blackmailed by Ms Greene. She also had criminal convictions for theft and for assault.

The prosecution said the killing was planned. Senior counsel Alex Owens said the killing pointed to a desire for revenge, some forward planning and calculation.

He said Mr Devaney had brought a knife to the scene and had telephoned Ms Greene from a public phone box to arrange to meet when he had previously used his own phone to contact her.

He said he had shown himself to be someone who was quite in control, having disposed of the body and continued to play poker afterwards.

Mr Owens said the defence of provocation causing a sudden loss of control which could reduce a verdict of murder to manslaughter could not apply where there was an element of planning.

He said Devaney had given gardaí a "cock and bull" story about the knife.

However, defence counsel Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha said there was no evidence to prove the killing was planned.

He said if his client had planned the killing he would not have thrown the knife back into his jeep and would not have returned to a poker game in a dishevelled state with blood and dirt on him.

He said Mr Devaney's lies to gardaí did not necessarily mean he had intended to kill MS Greene because people lie for many reasons.

Mr Ó Lideadha said the jury must look at the pathology evidence which was consistent with  a loss of control.

He said Mr Devaney has said he "just kept stabbing her". He said he may have intended to kill or seriously harm but he was not the master of his own mind.

Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan said the defence of provocation could reduce a verdict of murder to manslaughter even if there was intention to kill or cause serious harm.

She said to find the accused guilty of murder the jury would have to find the prosecution had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he was not provoked and did not suffer a sudden temporary loss of control.

She said the jury must examine all of the evidence from the accused man in his garda interviews and decide if it was credible.

She said the jury would have to consider if he was provoked, if he lost self control, was it a total and sudden loss and did the killing take place before he had time to calm down.

Mr O' Lideadha asked the court to adjourn sentencing until 2 November.

Ms Justice Heneghan remanded him in custody until that date, when victim impact statements will be before the court.