Domestic abuser Martin Hayes jailed for killing partner he claimed had stabbed herself

Domestic Abuser Martin Hayes Jailed For Killing Partner He Claimed Had Stabbed Herself
Martin Hayes had a history of violence towards his partner Amadea McDermott before he stabbed her, causing her death in July 2017.
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Eoin Reynolds

A domestic abuser who killed his partner after developing an "untrue and unfounded" obsession that she was involved in an incestuous relationship has been jailed for 12 years and six months by a judge at the Central Criminal Court.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott said Martin Hayes had a history of violence and aggression towards his partner Amadea McDermott before he stabbed her, causing her death in July 2017.


Amadea McDermott was killed in her home in Coolock in July, 2017, by Martin Hayes. Photograph: Facebook
Amadea McDermott. Photograph: Facebook

The judge said the killing was an act of domestic violence, which he said was an aggravating factor in the killing. He also rejected a defence submission that he should find that the killing was "accidental or quasi-accidental".

Gravedigger Hayes (34) was found not guilty of Amadea McDermott's (27) murder but guilty of manslaughter by the majority verdict of a Central Criminal Court jury earlier this month.

Hayes, with an address at Poddle Close, Crumlin, Dublin 12, had pleaded not guilty to murdering the mother of two at her home in Rathvale Drive, Ayrfield, Coolock on or about July 20th, 2017. He told the trial that his partner inflicted the injury on herself.


On Tuesday, Mr Justice Paul McDermott said Hayes still maintains that he is guilty of no offence and therefore there is no evidence that he has any remorse for what he did.

The judge found that it was established beyond a reasonable doubt by the evidence heard during the trial that Hayes stabbed Ms McDermott once in the abdomen, causing her death.

He noted bruises to her limbs that a pathologist said were recently caused and bruises to her face that the pathologist said were "more likely" from direct blows than from a fall. Those included bruises and grazes above her right eye, lip, temple and left jaw.

Family members of the late Amadea McDermott. Photo: Collins

Mr Justice McDermott said the accused gave conflicting accounts of what led to the row, but the judge was satisfied that it was Hayes's "untrue and unfounded belief" that Ms McDermott had been involved in an incestuous relationship.

He described this as an "obsession" and said he was satisfied that Hayes was the aggressor on the night.

He noted aggravating features, including the "clear history of violence against the deceased". He said the killing was "clearly an act of domestic violence, which is in itself an aggravating feature."

The infliction of the stab wound was "on any view highly reckless," the judge said, and Hayes's use of alcohol and drugs was an exacerbating rather than mitigating factor given that it was "not out of character" for Hayes to be violent or aggressive towards Ms McDermott when intoxicated.


Mr Justice McDermott said Hayes had created "menacing videos" in which he confronted Ms McDermott with the untrue allegations regarding incest. In one video, he said Ms McDermott was "clearly in fear".

The judge also noted Hayes's demeanour in giving evidence during the trial, which he said showed his "underlying violent disposition, he was violent in language and in action." He said it was "rare to be given such a clear demonstration of this" in a trial but his disposition was "shockingly clear to all but himself".

The judge set a headline sentence of 14 years and noted there was only limited mitigation, such as Hayes's work record as a gravedigger and his attempts to address his drug abuse issues. Taking into account all matters, the judge set a sentence of 12 years and six months with no portion suspended. He backdated the sentence to April 4th, 2022, when Hayes first went into custody.


A sentencing hearing earlier this month heard from members of the deceased's family, with one of the deceased's sisters shouting at Hayes: "You are a coward, an active predator and an abuser of women. You hide against your insecurities through your fists."


The eldest sister, Olivia Heffernan, said her sister's life was stolen from her by Martin Hayes and that she knew the mother-of-two would never have taken her own life as she loved her family and children too much.

Ms Heffernan said her sister was under the "coercive control" of the killer and when she saw Amadea lying "motionless and lifeless" in the hospital bed she was taken aback by the level of bruising "the gentle soul" had sustained. "My instincts and gut feelings were 100 percent right about you", she told Hayes.

Ms Heffernan said "the hidden untraceable tracker" placed on her sister's mobile phone by Hayes had blown her away and she described the defendant as an "active predator, luring and waiting for his next prey waiting to abuse". She accused Hayes of "concocting lies" against the McDermott family which she said were "accusations of incest".

Raising her voice on Tuesday, Ms Heffernan added: "To victims of domestic abuse everywhere around the world, stand up and be heard, don't hide behind the fists of cowards", saying if her sister had done this she would still be alive today.

Ms Heffernan said her sister's killer had shown no respect for her and that he had given evidence of still having access to her Instagram account. "How deranged are you?" she asked.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Women’s Aid (24-hour freephone helpline at 1800-341 900, email or Men’s Aid Ireland (confidential helpline at 01-554 3811, email for support and information. 

Safe Ireland also outlines a number of local services and helplines at In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112. 

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