A 30-Year Old Murder Solved‘When he was found guilty last week, he started to cry.’

As heard on Today with Sean O'Rourke

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If you commit a crime and spend nearly 30 years living your normal life, entirely unpunished, does that mean you got away with it?

John Joseph Malone of Newpark, Kilkenny was found guilty last Thursday of the murder of Ann “Nancy” Smyth on 11 September 1987 at her home on Wolfe Tone Street, Kilkenny. He was given a life sentence.

“It took a long time to catch him, but he didn’t get away with it,” Prime Time reporter Barry Cummins told Sean O’Rourke this morning. Nancy Smyth was strangled to death.

After strangling her, Malone set fire to Nancy’s sofa, but for reasons unknown, the fire didn’t spread, meaning vital evidence was not destroyed.

“If that fire had taken hold… we would have been assumed it was an accidental death.”

When Kilkenny gardaí re-opened the “cold case” in 2012, they saw potential: John Joseph Malone was arrested in 1987, but never charged; they had some eye-witness testimony. “They set about,” Barry says, “doing some old-style policing”.

A crucial piece of testimony came from a neighbour who had told gardaí in 1987 that she hadn’t seen anything because her mother had advised her not to get involved. In 2012 she came forward and described hearing Malone shouting, “let me in… I will get you” outside Nancy’s house. Seven other people told gardaí that Malone had confessed to them.

“To this day, we still don’t know the motive.”

We don’t know why John Joseph Malone killed Nancy Smyth, but we do know that he’s not getting away with it any longer.

Barry Cummins’ special report on the murder will air on tonight’s Prime Time on RTÉ One Television at 9.35.

For more from Today with Sean O’Rourke, click here.

© The Listener 2017

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