Murder accused displayed ‘ultimate in toxic masculinity’ by stabbing wife, court told

Murder Accused Displayed ‘Ultimate In Toxic Masculinity’ By Stabbing Wife, Court Told Murder Accused Displayed ‘Ultimate In Toxic Masculinity’ By Stabbing Wife, Court Told
Renato Gehlen (39) has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife Anne Colomines (37) at their home in Dorset Square.
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Alison O’Riordan

A man displayed the "ultimate in toxic masculinity" by stabbing his wife to death in an effort to control the end of their marriage, a prosecution barrister has told the jury of a murder trial.

Renato Gehlen "lost control" of his wife Anne Colomines and his marriage and could not handle it, so he stabbed her through the heart, Shane Costelloe SC said on Monday.

The accused's actions that night, counsel said, were "the last roll of the dice" and amounted to "the ultimate in toxic masculinity by trying to regain what he saw as controlling the situation and him putting the final full stop at the end of their marriage, not her".

Mr Costelloe gave his closing speech on Monday in the Central Criminal Court trial of Mr Gehlen (39), a Brazilian national who has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife Ms Colomines (37), a French national, at their home in Dorset Square, Gardiner Street Upper in Dublin 1 on October 25th, 2017.


The trial heard Mr Gehlen, who denies murdering Ms Colomines, told gardaí that he and his wife had a fight about "another man". He said Ms Colomines had a knife and he did not know if she was going to do something to him or herself.


The accused said he tried to grab the knife and as they struggled, he heard Ms Colomines say "ah" and he lost his balance and fell to the ground beside the bed. She fell also, he said, and then used the knife to stab herself in the abdomen.

Mr Gehlen told gardaí it was "50/50 blame on both sides" and that he "tried to make her stop". He told gardaí he then tried to kill himself because Ms Colomines was his family.

Chief State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan gave evidence that she found four stab wounds to Ms Colomines' body, a 22-centimetre incised wound to her throat and six incisions on her hands that she said were consistent with defensive injuries.

Taking all the injuries together, Dr Mulligan said, it was "highly unlikely" the deceased stabbed herself to death.

Addressing the jury on Monday, Mr Costelloe said there was a "catalogue of wounds" to Ms Colomines and if they decided that Mr Gehlen had perpetrated those wounds, they could be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that he had intended to kill her or cause her serious injury.


"You do not plunge a knife through the heart of someone penetrating the sac so it comes out the other side unless you intend to kill or cause serious injury," he added.

Marriage 'ended'

Mr Costelloe submitted the couple's marriage was ending "if not ended". We live in the 21st century, the barrister said, and even if one's wife is having an affair and is unfaithful that does not give one the right "to plunge a knife through her chest and kill her".

He drew the jury’s attention to Mr Gehlen using his laptop eight to nine days before his wife had died to look up the Facebook profile of Ms Colomines's new boyfriend and see if the deceased was on Tinder.

Mr Costelloe said these actions demonstrated the accused's state of mind before he killed his wife.

The trial had heard that on the night Ms Colomines died, she exchanged 296 messages with her new French boyfriend whom she had met a few months earlier in France. The exchange ended at 11.06pm and emergency responders arrived to find Ms Colomines' body in her bedroom less than 30 minutes later.

Mr Costelloe told the jury that Mr Gehlen had messaged his friend on Facebook just two hours before he committed the crime and said "I really want to stab". There can be no reasonable doubt of what was going through his mind, Mr Costelloe said, when the accused stabbed his wife numerous times.

'Tragic case'


Giving his closing statement on Monday, defence counsel Seamus Clarke SC, for Mr Gehlen, called this "a tragic case from beginning to end", no matter what version of events the jury accepted. He said the couple were "madly in love with each other" and had got married in 2012.

Mr Clarke said when Ms Colomines told his client that the marriage was over and she wanted a divorce, Mr Gehlen did not know another person was in the relationship and that the accused "harboured the hope" that their marriage could be saved.

"It was unknown to him that she had a new boyfriend," he added.

Unfortunately people who have future plans can end their own lives, Mr Clarke said, and submitted that the prosecution had not excluded the possibility that the deceased's injuries were self-inflicted.

It was entirely possible that the "struggle over the knife", where the accused said Ms Colomines plunged the knife into the middle of her chest, could have happened and if this "set of actions" was reasonably possible then the jury had a duty to acquit his client, he submitted.

In cross-examination during the trial, pathologist Dr Mulligan had agreed with Mr Clarke that she could not rule out entirely that the wounds to Ms Colomines were self-inflicted. She said that given the different injuries, it was "highly unlikely", but, she added: "It can't be 100 per cent ruled out."


While Mr Clarke said it was not acceptable to spy on another person on their computer, it did not make his client guilty of anything beyond installing software on a laptop.

He noted Ms Colomines suffered from depression and argued that one has no way of knowing how one would react in the given circumstances.

Mr Clarke concluded by saying if the jury had a doubt then they must acquit Mr Gehlen and he asked them to return a verdict of not guilty of murder.

Mr Justice Michael MacGrath will complete his charge to the jury of seven men and five women on Tuesday before they commence their deliberations.

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