James Kilroy: Gardaí have arrested a man accused under the Mental Health Act of murdering Valerie French Kilroy after finding him naked in the field

James Kilroy, 50, a park ranger, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the murder of occupational therapist Valerie French Kilroy

A Garda also told the jury at the Central Criminal Court today that when the defendant, James Kilroy, was taken to hospital, he told gardaí he wanted to confess and said: “I killed my wife.”

James Kilroy (50), a park ranger, pleaded insanity over the murder of occupational therapist Ms Valerie French Kilroy (41) at her rural home in Kilbree Lower, Westport, Co. Mayo, between June 13, 2019 and June 14 pleaded not guilty, 2019.

Garda Leanne Nallen, of Westport Garda Station, told Dean Kelly SC, prosecuting, today that she was in a patrol car at 9.30am on June 14, 2019 when she received a call about a naked man walking through a field in Derrygorman outside from Westport ran.

Gda Nallen said she called the home of Clare O’Grady who told her that she and her husband Niall Corrigan saw a naked man running across a field.

The witness went to meet Mr Corrigan who showed her where the naked man was in the field.

The garda added: “As I approached and approached the man he was naked and covering his genitals with his hands. He had scratches all over his body and was dirty.”

The naked man told Gda Nallen that his name was James Kilroy, that he was on a penitential pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick and “that God had put him on this path”.

Valerie French Kilroy

The witness said Mr Kilroy appeared very distressed and she believed he was suffering from a mental disorder.

It was likely, she said, that Mr Kilroy may have caused himself serious harm, which is why he was detained under the Mental Health Act. She wrapped two towels around the defendant and walked him to the patrol car.

Gda Nallen said Mr Kilroy was taken by ambulance to Mayo University Hospital where a consultant carried out an assessment with a view to transferring him to an adult psychiatric ward.

The witness said Mr Kilroy wanted to speak to gardaí privately to tell them something. The doctor asked the defendant if she should leave and Mr Kilroy said: “That would be best.”

Mr Kilroy, the garda continued, stated he wanted to speak to gardaí to make a confession and said: “I killed my wife.”

Gda Nallen agreed with counsel that up to this point gardaí had no suspicion that Mr Kilroy had done anything criminal.

After the defendant was cautioned, Mr Kilroy told gardaí that he had fled his home and that his wife’s name was Valerie.

The defendant said he and Valerie had an argument because he wasn’t doing enough and that happened four days ago.

He said there was an argument that night and he was stabbed in the back by Valerie. He said he and Valerie were divorced and he didn’t know where his wife lived.

Gda Nallen said she informed her sergeant about Mr Kilroy’s disclosure so that someone could go to Kilroy’s house to see if what the defendant had said was true.

Under cross-examination, Gda Nallen, defending Patrick Gageby SC, agreed that she had spoken to the defendant’s GP who told her that Mr Kilroy was not under psychiatric treatment and that he was not aware that he had had a similar episode to this and that was completely out of character for his patient.

The next witness, Garda Colm Boyle, said he went to the defendant’s home in Kilbree Lower at 3pm on June 14 and observed blood spattering on the bathroom wall and large clumps of hair in the sink.

The witness said he conducted a search around the back of the house, where a green RV was parked in the shed facing a wall.

There was a large amount of blood at the rear of the vehicle and the motorhome’s sliding door was left open, but the Garda could not see inside.

The witness said a wooden folding table was blocking his path, so he walked around the other side of the RV to look inside.

The garda told the jury he saw a hand belonging to a body, which he now knows was Ms French Kilroy, hanging out of the sliding door area with a wound to her wrist.

He said the body was lying in a flexed position on the left side with the knees bent forward toward the chest. There was a car seat in front of his head.

Gda Boyle agreed with counsel that Ms French Kilroy had died and it appeared she had suffered a violent death.

In his opening statement, prosecutor Dean Kelly SC told the jury that while Mr Kilroy admits killing Ms French Kilroy four years ago, expert psychiatric evidence will be central to their verdict in the case.

The trial continues tomorrow before Judge Paul McDermott and a jury of seven women and five men.


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