Cold case trial hears hears killing of pensioner was an accident

69-year-old Anne Nancy Smyth died in 1987

Cold case trial hears hears killing of pensioner was an accident

File photo. Image: RollingNews.ie

A woman has told a Kilkenny cold case murder trial that the accused told her he killed a widow pensioner, but that it was an accident.

John Joseph Malone of Newpark in Kilkenny denies strangling 69-year-old Anne Nancy Smyth in 1987, before setting her house on fire.

Eileen Kelly lived near Mr Malone’s family in the 1980s and she said she knew them well.

She said he called into her house a few months after Ms Smyth was found dead in her home on Wolfe Tone Street in Kilkenny city.

She said she was aware of rumours that he was a suspect and had been arrested.

After some small talk, she said she decided to ask him straight out why he did that to an old woman - and that his reply was that it was an accident.

She told the jury he said he did not mean it, that she was shouting at him from her door and accusing his brother and sister-in-law of stealing her handbag in the local pub and that he just shoved her and squeezed her neck too tight.

She insisted she was telling the truth when it was put to her under cross-examination that she had made the whole thing up.

Mr Malone denies the murder charge.