Murder trial hears man admits strangling young Sligo woman

A murder trial jury has heard that a 34-year-old man has admitted strangling a young Easkey woman at his home in Sligo over a year ago.

Oisin Conroy with an address at St Joseph’s Terrace, Boyle, Co Roscommon is charged with murdering Natalie McGuinness (23) at The Mews, Mail Coach Road in Sligo on October 28, 2015.

Mr Conroy has pleaded not (NOT) guilty to murdering Ms McGuinness by reason of insanity.

Opening the prosecution case to a jury this morning, Ms. Tara Burns SC said that the defence of insanity was raised in this case and the defence were not taking any issue with the prosecution evidence in relation to the day in question.

The jury were told they will hear Garda evidence of what happened that day and expert evidence from two consultant psychiatrists who were of the view that the accused man was insane at the time of the offence.

The court heard that Mr Conroy and Ms McGuinness had been in a relationship for a relatively short period of time and that she was dropped to Mr Conroy’s residence on the previous night.

At 10am the following morning the accused made a 999 call to emergency services.

The court heard that it was in the course of this telephone call that the accused indicated that he had killed his friend by strangulation.

The court heard that when Gardaí arrived at the scene and went into the house, they found Ms McGuinness lying unresponsive. She was brought to hospital and pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

The barrister told the jury they will hear post-mortem evidence that Ms McGuinness had died by strangulation.

Counsel said there was a lot of blood found at the scene but that Chief State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy will say that she did not note any blood injuries to Ms McGuinness having examined her body.

The prosecution said the jury will hear that the accused Mr. Conroy had a very significant head injury at the scene and that he indicated to Gardaí that he had caused this himself using a knife.

Mr Conroy was brought to hospital and later arrested and brought to a garda station.

The court heard that apart from the 999 call, Mr Conroy made further admission to Gardaí at the scene as well as in hospital.

The defence then make a number of admissions on behalf of Mr. Conroy.

Defence Counsel Mr Brendan Grehan said the sole issue in the case was the mental state of the accused.

He said that his client accepted by his acts that he had caused the death of Ms McGuinness by strangulation. He said Mr Conroy accepted that he had called 999 seeking medical assistance.

Counsel said there was no issue but that Mr Conroy was lawfully arrested, detained, medically assessed, treated and interviewed by the investigating gardaí. He said there was no issue as to the identity of the deceased as being Natalie McGuinness.

The court heard there was no issue as to the cause of death of the deceased as established by the Chief State Pathologist Professor Dr Marie Cassidy, namely compression of the neck and strangulation.

The barrister said it was accepted that Dr Cassidy found no evidence of any stab wounds or bleeding injuries or any other significant injury to Ms McGuinness’s body.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Tony Hunt.