No criminal penalty for 'petrified' former girlfriend of murderer

Melanie McCarthy McNamara

A former girlfriend of the man who shot 16-year-old Melanie McCarthy McNamara has been found in contempt of court after she failed to turn up as a witness at his trial.

Stephanie Tuite (aged 20) with an address at Glenshane Crescent, Tallaght claims she was too petrified to testify against 19-year-old Daniel McDonnell.

Daniel McDonnell was jailed for life last Friday for shooting Melanie McCarthy McNamara in the head as she sat in the back of a car in Tallaght.

The 19-year-old from Brookview Lawns wrote a letter from his cell in St Patrick’s Institution to his former girlfriend boasting about the killing.

It was intercepted and became a key piece of evidence.

Tuite described today as an important witness went to ground during the trial and was arrested in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Today her actions were described by Mr Justice Paul Carney as a clear and blatant contempt of court.

However, he decided not to impose a criminal penalty on the basis that the trial had not been derailed, and because he recognised that finding out she’d been the girlfriend of an assassin was "clearly a terrifying experience"’ for Ms Tuite.

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