Murder accused, 37, subjected to serious abuse at hands of partner and co-defendant, court hears

A woman accused of murdering a man in Co Tyrone almost four years ago told police that she experienced a campaign of domestic abuse at the hands of her co-accused.

The body of Pat Ward was found in an alleyway in the McCrea Park area of Clogher in February 2019.

Originally from Sligo, the father-of-four had suffered severe head trauma and stab wounds which collectively caused his rapid but not immediate death.

37 year old Karen Marie McDonald, of Mc Crea Park in the town, denies the charges against her.

Her co-accused 27 year old Niall Cox of the same address had already pleaded guilty to murdering Mr Ward.

On Monday, Dungannon Crown Court heard evidence from the detective in charge of the investigation into the murder.

Ms McDonald largely gave 'no comment' replies to questions around the murder itself but did express fear and disgust in the aftermath.

The detective said when arrested, Ms McDonald was considered vulnerable and required an appropriate adult in attendance as well as her solicitor while being interviewed.

They also told the court that police had received information of numerous injuries inflicted on Ms McDonald by Mr Cox over several incidents including broken ribs, a fractured jaw, a black eye and facial bruising.

And that on attending for medical treatment, she would claim to have fallen and was always accompanied by Mr Cox.

The body of Pat Ward was found in an alleyway in McCrea Park in February 2019. Credit: UTV

The court heard that the detective had asked Ms McDonald on several occassions if she was protecting Mr Cox but that she'd refused to comment.

And that, as one particular interview was terminating, McDonald stated: "I didn't murder anybody".

But when asked if she knew who did, she again replied: "No comment."

When pressed detectives during interviews that if someone was violent, she should tell them.

Ms McDonald replied: "I know you want to know. I feel sorry for that man's wife and children. I haven't stopped thinking about them."

The trial continues.

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