A 32-year-old man has been found not guilty of the murder of Jasmine McMonagle in Co Donegal but guilty of her manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The unanimous verdict was returned by a jury at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Monaghan.

Richard Burke, of Killygordon in Co Donegal, had pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter.

Ms McMonagle - a 28-year-old mother-of-two - was strangled and beaten in her home in the early hours of 4 January 2019.

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In her closing speech, prosecution cousel Anne Marie Lawlor told the jury that it did not hear much about the kind of person that Ms McMonagle was, but that it would recognise that she was a devoted mother who was deeply loved by her friends and family.

Ms Lawlor said that putting sympathy for her family aside will be difficult but it is "nevertheless required".

She said that Ms McMonagle's death was "senseless and horrific" and left her family devastated.

The prosecution told the jury that nobody was suggesting that Burke was not responsible for the death.

She said that he was not just responsible in a general sense, but also in a criminal sense of the offence of killing her.

Ms Lawlor said that what the jury was to consider was whether the offence of murder was made out of the evidence.

She said the evidence was "all in one direction" and asked the jury to return a verdict in accordance with it.

Defence lawyer Michael Bowman, in his closing speech, said that what happened to Jasmine McMonagle was "beyond explanation, excuse and beyond words".

He said that her family had displayed strength and dignity during the course of the trial.

Mr Bowman said that, in this case, the defence did not challenge or counter the evidence.

He said that Burke accepted what happened on 4 January 2019, and that he accepted responsiblity for what took place.

Mr Bowman said that mental illness was at the heart of the case.

Yesterday, the trial heard from two psychiatrists who both agreed that Burke was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the killing which substantially diminished his responsibility.

Mr Bowman agreed with the prosecution that the evidence "leads in one direction only" and he urged the jury to return a verdict of not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter by virtue of diminished responsibility.

Mr Bowman said that any suggestions about infidelity or drug use about Ms McMonagle were "not reality" and described that as the "delusional belief of a person who suffered from a mental disorder at the time".

Richard Burke was convicted by a jury at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Monaghan

Mr Justice Paul Burns, presiding, told the jury that there was no dispute about what happened in this case.

He said there was absolutely no foundation to the various notions that the accused had about Ms McMonagle.

He said there was no evidence that she was anything other than a "good mother and a good person".

The judge said there were three verdicts open to the jury - guilty or not guilty of murder, or not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsiblity.

He said the jury might feel horror or revulsion about what Burke admitted he did, or feel a "natural sympathy for the family of the deceased", but he said the jury was engaged in a "cold, clinical, logical forensic exercise" and they must put their feelings aside.

Mr Justice Burns said the jury must deliver a unanimous verdicat and must deliver a verdict in accordance with the evidence.

He told the jury that, in a case like this, it was for the defence to prove, on the balance of probabilitites, that Burke was suffering from a mental disorder and that that disorder was such that it substantially dimiinished his responsibility.

Mr Burns reminded the jury that two psychiatric experts concluded that the accused was suffering from a mental disorder that was such that it substantially diminished his responsibilty.

He told the jury that a finding of not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility was not an acquittal or a not guilty verdict.