Maire Rankin killer: appeal postponed

May 26, 2014

Karen Walsh, the 47-year-old pharmacist currently serving a minimum 20 year prison sentence for the brutal murder of Newry pensioner Maire Rankin in 2008, has had her appeal against her conviction postponed until November.

The appeal was due to be heard next month but her legal team are still seeking forensic notes and records and DNA evidence to be used as part of their challenge to her murder conviction.

Walsh’s sentence is one of the longest ever handed down to a woman in Northern Ireland.

81 year old Mrs Rankin was found dead in her Dublin Road home on Christmas Day in 2008.  She had been beaten with a crucifix and sexually assaulted.  The frail pensioner also suffered 15 broken ribs in the attack.  Mother-of-one Walsh worked as a pharmacist in Dublin, but often stayed at the property she owned next door to Mrs Rankin.

During her trial the prosecution alleged that on the night of the murder Walsh had drank heavily, rowed with her husband and stormed off to Mrs Rankin’s house with a bottle of vodka. After being reprimanded by the pensioner for leaving her son and husband on Christmas Eve, the prosecution claimed that Mrs Walsh became enraged, grabbed the crucifix and beat her

victim, staging the subsequent sexual assault to cover up her alleged crime.

Walsh has continued to protest her innocence since her murder conviction in October 2011.

An appeal hearing had been scheduled for early next month but the Court of Appeal was informed last Thursday that material was still being sought by her legal team. Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan agreed to relist the hearing until 4th November.