A 30-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Anne Butler in her home in Kilkenny two years ago.

Trevor Rowe, of Abbey Street, Kilkenny, was convicted by a jury last month of the murder of Ms Butler on 20 March 2020.

In emotional victim impact statements, the family of the 71-year-old woman said they still did not know why she was killed.

Ms Butler was so much more than a murder victim, the court heard.

She was not a nameless woman murdered in her own home, her nephew Martin Neary wrote. She was a generous and warm hearted person and the people that loved her remember her name, he said.

Ms Butler’s body was found in her home on Maudlin Street in Kilkenny on 25 March 2020.

She had been beaten, stabbed and mutilated and a piece of cardboard was found in the back of her mouth.

Gardaí had gone to the house after Rowe made a number of 999 calls telling them he had murdered a woman five days previously.

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CCTV footage showed him heading down Ms Butler's street at around 9.45pm on the night of 20 March and returning in the other direction around one hour later.

He pleaded not guilty to murder at his trial, with his lawyers arguing that the amount of drink and drugs he had consumed on the day had prevented him from forming an intent to kill Ms Butler.

But the jury took less than an hour and a half to convict him.

Ms Butler’s daughter and other family members told the court of their grief at the nature of her death.

In her victim impact statement, Elayne Butler said her mother’s final moments were tortuous and horrifically painful and everything had been taken away from her - her life, her death, her last rites, her family, her home, and her privacy.

She said her mother’s whole being and her legacy seemed tainted.

Elayne Butler said she knew when the trial started she would hear all the details of how her mother was murdered. But she said she also thought she would hear the why of it.

Speaking directly to Rowe, she said she awaited his letter.

The court heard Rowe was known as someone suffering with drug and alcohol dependency and has 31 previous convictions, including drug and assault offences, as well as trespass and burglary.

Through his defence counsel, Kathleen Leader, he expressed his deep sorrow to Ms Butler’s family.

Ms Justice Karen O’Connor imposed the mandatory life sentence for a murder, which she said had an enormously painful and profound impact.