Belfast Telegraph

Woman jailed for murder of man with disability whose body was dumped in a wheelie bin bids to clear name

By Alan Erwin

A woman jailed for the murder of a man with disability whose body was dumped in a wheelie bin has launched a bid to clear her name.

Shaunean Boyle's lawyers told the Court of Appeal that issues around bad character evidence and a co-accused's perjured account at trial rendered her conviction for killing Owen Creaney unsafe.

Mr Creaney, a vulnerable 40-year-old, died two days after being beaten repeatedly at a house in Craigavon, Co Armagh in July 2014.

His body was then put into a green recycling bin and discovered later by police.

Last year Boyle, 26, and her 30-year-old co-accused Stephen Hughes were both found guilty of his murder.

During their trial the jury heard Mr Creaney had been punched, kicked and stamped on at Hughes' Moyraverty Court home.

He sustained more than 60 injuries, including a broken breastbone, 15 fractures to his ribs and bleeding to the brain in what was described as a "savage and merciless attack".

Following the assault the victim was washed and changed, before being left on a bedroom sofa until he succumbed to his injuries.

Boyle, a mother-of-one from Edenderry Park in Banbridge, and Hughes admitted being in the house with Mr Creaney, but both denied attacking him and instead blamed each other for the violence.

Hughes claimed he witnessed Boyle stamp all over Mr Creaney and that he tried to stop the attack.

Boyle, however, alleged that her co-defendant alone carried out the assault using his fists and feet.

She also claimed to have taken a dumbbell and knife off him during the incident.

But the prosecution maintained that the pair attacked Mr Creaney together, then attempted a cover-up by painting blood-splattered walls and mopping blood from the floor.

In December 2016 Boyle was jailed for a minimum 14 years for the murder, while Boyle was ordered to spend at least 15 years behind bars.

Her legal team mounted a wide-ranging challenging to the conviction today, claiming there had been flaws in how the bad character evidence was handled during a so-called "cut throat" trial where each defendant blamed the other.

Barristers John Kearney QC and Michael Forde also raised points about whether a nose injury was inflicted before the victim died.

Stressing that it had been a circumstantial case, Mr Kearney argued there were reasons why Boyle lied by telling a close friend she had jumped on Mr Creaney.

It was contended that she thought it would mean more chance of securing medical help.

"That was undoubtedly a lying admission in its complete and full acceptance of responsibility," Mr Kearney said.

"The admission is the main pillar of the prosecution, but in terms of safety we say it's far from clear."

The appeal continues.

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