Karen Walsh to appeal murder conviction

December 15, 2014

The Court of Appeal has confirmed that 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, will be given the chance to appeal her conviction next year.

Eighty one 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 brutal attack which sent shockwaves through the local community.

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

Following two previous attempts to secure a date, the Court of Appeal have confirmed that an appeal hearing will start on March 4th next year.