Leap murder trial collapses in Dublin

March 27th, 2023 3:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Valerie French Kilroy, originally from Leap, died at her home in Co Mayo in June 2019.

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THE murder trial of a man who admitted killing his Leap wife at their rural Co Mayo home, collapsed earlier this week at the Central Criminal Court due to an ‘unexpected, complex matter’ that had arisen in the case.

Evidence was scheduled to continue before the 12 jurors on Monday in the case of James Kilroy, but Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring said she had been left in the ‘unfortunate position’ of having to discharge them and put the matter back to allow the issue to be resolved.

Park ranger Mr Kilroy (49), with an address at Kilbree Lower, Westport, Co Mayo is charged with murdering mother-of-three Valerie French Kilroy (41), originally from Leap, at their home on a date unknown between June 13th and June 14th 2019, both dates inclusive. He had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

The trial had been sitting since March 8th and heard a week of evidence since opening at the Criminal Courts of Justice.

Last Wednesday, the jury were told that the trial would be adjourned until Monday as it had ‘unforeseeably come to a bump in the road.’ 

Ms Justice Ring had asked the jury to return to court on Monday afternoon ‘to give all parties time to sort out the issues.’

Before discharging the jury on Monday, she said she had hoped that in the interim the parties would have been able to come to some resolution to allow matters to continue. ‘That has not proved possible and some further time will be required to resolve matters to everyone’s satisfaction,’ she said.

The judge said her obligation is to ensure a fair trial for Mr Kilroy. 

‘A fair trial should meet all people’s needs and bring finality to an accusation, which is ultimately to the benefit of all, including the family of Ms French Kilroy,’ she continued.

Ms Justice Ring said it was ‘clearly regrettable’ and that the parties had reached ‘a complex matter unexpectedly’ in the trial which needed to be dealt with. ‘The case will be given priority, it won’t be allowed to linger in a very long list but beyond that there is nothing else I can do,’ she stated.

She listed Mr Kilroy’s trial for mention before the Central Criminal Court on March 27th. 

‘Hopefully some indication of a trial date can be reserved into the future,’ she concluded.

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