Clare manslaughter described as "cold and callous"

45-year-old Colm Deely was convicted of Deirdre McCarthy’s murder, but that was overturned on appeal and a plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter was accepted

The sister of a woman who was killed in Co. Clare by a man she was having an affair with has described the way her life was taken as “cold and callous.”

She was speaking at the sentence hearing of 45-year-old Colm Deely of School Road in Ballyvaughan.

He was convicted of Deirdre McCarthy’s murder, but that was overturned on appeal and a plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter was accepted.

At the time of her death, Deirdre McCarthy was working and living in a B&B in Ballyvaughan.

She went to a local pub on the evening of March 27th 2011 where Colm Deely - a man she’d known her whole life - was also socialising.

CCTV footage showed the two talking.

The court heard they’d arranged to meet back at the B&B afterwards where Deely drank some vodka he had bought earlier in the day.

The jury at his trial in 2013 heard they were having an affair and that he claimed she was blackmailing him and threatening to tell his wife and children.

He told Gardaí they were in bed together and he put his hands around her neck because she was laughing at him.

Her body washed up on Fanore beach four days later. A post mortem established she’d been strangled to death.

Deely self-harmed the day after her body was found and made certain admissions on his way to hospital.

He later revealed what happened and told Gardaí that he dumped her body by moving it in his car and throwing it into the sea.

He was convicted of murder and handed the mandatory life sentence, but that conviction was overturned on appeal because of an issue with the former Assistant State Pathologist Dr. Khalid Jaber who no longer works in Ireland.

The defence raised concerns that his work in the case hadn’t been peer reviewed and were unable to challenge his evidence.

A retrial was ordered but the prosecution later accepted his plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

At his sentence hearing today, Helen Geoghegan described her sister Deirdre as a “kind and easy going person who lived a very ordinary life” and loved spending time with her family and friends.

She said it was hard to understand what happened to her that night and how frightened she must have been as she was beaten and strangled to death.

She asked why Colm Deely didn’t go for help when he could hear her body crashing off the rocks on its way into the sea.

He will be sentenced next week.