A MAN has appeared in court charged with the murder of a pensioner whose body was found in a burning car last week.
Michael Leonard, from Glenosheen, Hillcrest, Kilmallock, Co Limerick, appeared before a special sitting of Fermoy District Court today charged with murdering 72-year-old Mary O’Keeffe at Dromdeer, Doneraile, Co Cork.
Detective Garda James O’Shea gave evidence of arresting Leonard, 62, in Fermoy Garda Station at 11.33pm on Saturday.
He cautioned him and charged him at 11.53pm on Saturday with the murder of Mary O’Keeffe at Dromdeer Woods on February 4 last.
Detective Garda O’Shea told the court Leonard “made no reply” to the charge.
Inspector Tony O’Sullivan applied to have Leonard remanded in custody to Cork Prison to appear before Cork District Court next Friday via videolink.
He said the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed that there would be a trial by indictment.
Lawyer Brendan Gill, acting for Leonard, applied for free legal aid which was granted.
He also asked Judge Marie Keane to direct that all appropriate medical treatment, psychiatric and medical would be provided for the defendant in custody, and she complied with the request.
She said there could be no bail application considered because the charge was one of murder.
She then remanded Leonard, who was in court for the brief hearing wearing a maroon hooded fleece and dark pants, to Cork Prison to appear in Cork District Court on Friday.
The body of mother-of-three Mary O’Keeffe was taken from a destroyed Dacia Duster parked in an isolated forest area in north Cork after fire crews put out the blaze.
She was pronounced dead at the scene. A post-mortem was carried out on her remains at Cork University Hospital on Friday.The results of the post mortem, which was carried out by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster, were not released.
The grandmother, who had three sons – Ger and twins Christy and Donal, had lived all her life in Dromahane, near Mallow, County Cork.
Neighbours described her as a caring and loving person who had a heart of gold.
Her husband died over two decades ago and she continued to live alone at James Russell Park.
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She worked as a cook in a sheltered housing complex Mallow Sheltered Care.
Leonard was arrested at 4pm on Friday after he was discharged following a short stay in Cork University Hospital for hypothermia.
Funeral arrangements for Ms O’Keeffe are set to be finalised in the next few days.