Man loses appeal against conviction for murder of Kilkenny pensioner

69-year-old Nancy Smyth was murdered in September 1967

A man who is serving a life sentence for a cold-case murder in Kilkenny has lost an appeal against his conviction.

John Joseph Malone of Newpark in Kilkenny city was found guilty of strangling a woman before setting her home on fire over 30 years ago.

At the time of her death, Nancy Smyth, a 69-year-old widow, was living on her own in a small detached house on Wolfe Tone St. in Kilkenny city.

She went to her local pub on September 10th 1987 and the owner dropped her home around midnight.

A neighbour said she saw John Joe Malone banging on Nancy’s door and window around half an hour later, demanding to be let in.

Her body was found on the floor of her living room a few hours later.

She had been beaten and strangled to death before her house was set on fire.

Several people, including Mr Malone’s brother, later came forward to say he had told them he was responsible.

A jury found him guilty of her murder this time last year but he appealed that conviction, claiming he wasn't given a fair trial because of the effect the delay had on people’s memories.

The judges on the Court of Appeal disagreed and went so far as to describe the clarity of their evidence as quite remarkable before dismissing his attempt to have his conviction overturned.