Killer appeals conviction
Tuesday, 11 March 2014
THE woman jailed for the brutal murder of Newry pensioner Marie Rankin is to appeal her conviction.
Pharmacist Karen Walsh, 47, battered her 81-year-old neighbour to death with a crucifix in her Dublin Road home on Christmas Eve in 2008.
Walsh's appeal to have her minimum 20 year sentence overturned will be heard in June - senior judges have confirmed. The sentence is one of the longest ever handed down to a woman in the north.
Mrs Rankin, a devout Catholic, was found dead at her home on Christmas Day after suffering 15 broken ribs as a result of being beaten with a crucifix which had been given to her as a wedding gift. Evidence of a sexual assault was also discovered.
Walsh worked as a pharmacist in Dublin but often stayed at the house she owned next door to Mrs Rankin.
During her trial, prosecution claimed the mother of one arrived at Mrs Rankin's home drunk and with a bottle of vodka.
It is believed after Mrs Rankin told Walsh to go home to her young son, Walsh flew into a rage and attacked the pensioner.
Despite being convicted of the brutal murder in October 2011, and sentenced to a minimum of 20 years, Walsh continued to claim her innocence.
However, during her sentencing Mr Justice Hart said Walsh had shown no remorse, offered no explanation as to what happened and posed a significant risk to the public.
In the Court of Appeal on Friday, Walsh's barrister confirmed that most of the trial transcripts required as part of the bid to clear her name have been obtained. DNA evidence and forensic records are also expected to form part of the appeal case.
Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, sitting with Lord Justice Girvan, confirmed on Friday that the appeal will go ahead on June 2.
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