Woman who killed her partner in Galway sent back to prison

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Alison O’Riordan

A woman who killed her former partner nine years ago has been sent back to prison for two months after she breached the conditions of her suspended sentence.

A bench warrant was issued on Wednesday for the arrest of Maura Thornton and she was brought before Mr Justice Paul McDermott at the Central Criminal Court on Thursday evening.

Ms Thornton (38) from Inverin, Connemara, Co Galway was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment with the final three suspended in 2013 after she was found guilty of the manslaughter of her former partner Kevin Joyce (59) outside her apartment in Salthill in Galway on July 3rd, 2011.

She was due to appear at the Central Criminal Court this week, where Mr Justice McDermott wished to deal with her failure to adhere to the conditions of her suspended sentence. When she failed to show up the judge issued a warrant for her arrest. Her defence barrister Blaise O'Carroll SC said he had received no contact from Ms Thornton and could not say where she was.

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Since her release from prison the Central Criminal Court has heard that she has broken the terms of the suspended sentence that required her not to drink alcohol. At a previous hearing, Ms Thornton told the court that she "succumbed to the drink" partly out of a feeling of isolation brought on by Covid-19 restrictions. On Wednesday Paul Carroll SC, for the State, said that Ms Thornton had "fallen by the wayside in terms of drug and alcohol abuse." Mr Justice McDermott noted that Ms Thornton's life was "chaotic" and needed to be steadied but added that he wants to impress on her the importance of her reengagement with probation services and addiction treatment.

Mr Justice McDermott requested a psychiatric assessment and updated probation report for Ms Thornton, when she was brought before the Central Criminal Court yesterday. He said the defendant needed a period of two months in prison to get things under control and stabilise matters.

The judge remanded Ms Thornton in custody for two months without activating the suspended part of her sentence. The matter was listed for hearing on November 23rd.

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