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Money the root of evil that led to Corcoran Swarovski murder

By Conall O Ftharta

AS Ann Corcoran’s partially burnt body lay wrapped in bin bags buried under a mound of earth in a woods in Garrettstown, Co Cork, her murderer, Oliver Hayes, was using her money to fund a skiing trip in Austria with his girlfriend.

Following a nine day search, Ms Corcoran’s body was found on February 6 last year after hundreds of friends and neighbours took part in a massive search of Kilbrittain and the wider Bandon area.

A former employee of the Munster Arms Hotel, Ms Corcoran had a close circle of friends and was described locally as a quiet and private lady who was always immaculately dressed.

The tragic events that led to her lifeless body being found in an isolated wood began in late January of last year when she was reported missing by two workmen visiting her home. Less than a week later her car was found locked at Oldchapel leaving garda to treat her disappearance as suspicious.

Almost three weeks after her body was found, a then 49 year old Oliver Hayes was charged in connection with her disappearance and was later charged with her murder.

On his first appearance at Kinsale District Court, a hostile crowd of more than 100 people hurled abuse at Hayes, highlighting the level of anger the murder generated in the area. He eventually went on trial for her murder last month.

Although he denied murder, Hayes pleaded guilty to her manslaughter. He also pleaded guilty to falsely imprisoning the 60 year old woman and to stealing from her.

Throughout his trial, Oliver Hayes claimed he had never intended to kill Ms Corcoran, but merely to knock her unconscious while he stole money from her bank account.

Hayes admitted he was in debt and was in desperate need of money to pay off mounting bills. He was being pursued by his credit union for more than and had failed to pay anything off his mortgage in almost two years.

At some point between January 19 and 21 last year, Hayes waited outside Ms Corcoran’s home. Believing she kept cash on the property, his plan was to rob her to service some of his debts.

Expecting a struggle, Hayes carried a couple of feet Swarovski of yellow rope with him in case he needed to tie the elderly woman up.

He lay in wait for his victim as she drove off from the isolated farmhouse before she returned 20 minutes later. As she opened the front door, Hayes attacked her from behind grabbing her around the neck and pushing her through the door and into the downstairs bathroom.

Once inside the house, Hayes began demanding money and the PIN number to her bank cards. However, in Ann Corcoran, he found a woman who was less than willing to give in to his wishes. Unable to get the informa Swarovski tion, Hayes tied up Ms Corcoran, bundled her into the boot of her green Peuge Swarovski ot 206 and drove around in the hope she would relent and give him the information and money he was looking for.

However, his victim again put up a struggle and forced her way out of the boot and into the backseat of the car. Hayes then tied her feet with a dog leash and drove her to his litter strewn home in Clancool Terrace in Bandon where he had been living for 12 years.

He took Ms Corcoran into one of the bedrooms. Litter strewn and full of old furniture, it was there the elderly woman gave in and told Hayes the PIN numbers which granted him access to her bank account. It was also the room where she was to be murdered.

After about 10 minutes, Ms Corcoran told Hayes her PIN and where her bank card was in her house.

Hayes wanted to leave to retrieve the card from the woman’s home, but afraid she might escape decided to knock her unconscious. It was this decision which would lead him to murder for the sake of just

Having knocked her unconscious with two blows of a kitchen worktop, Hayes drove back to his victims house, stole her bank cards and drove to Bandon where he managed to extract her daily maximum of

Following this, Hayes drove home and went to sleep downstairs leaving his victim to die in an upstairs bedroom.

The following day, Hayes told garda, he went upstairs to find Ms Corcoran dead. It was a Tuesday morning.

“She was dead I’d say. She wasn’t breathing and there was an awful lot of blood on the ground.”

It would be a further two days before Hayes would dispose of the body in the isolated wood.

The following day he picked up his girlfriend Josephine Collins and carried on as normal.

“I didn’t know what to do. I went to take my girlfriend to do home help for her brother. I had to take her up anyway. She’d be wondering.”

The killer’s former girlfriend, whom he met at a dance in Kinsale 10 years previously, saw that Hayes looked unsettled that morning. She remarked in a statement read out in court that he had scratches on his “deadly white” face when he picked her up.

Hayes returned home at 5pm. He covered Ann Corcoran with a cardboard box so he wouldn’t have to see her. He stayed in another room for the remainder of the evening, leaving only to move the dead woman’s car and withdraw more cash.

“I did the same thing Wednesday. There was nothing different. I went to Clonakilty that night,” he said referring to his camera club. “Some of us went for a drink. I had the usual, Heineken shandy.”

The following day, Thursday, Hayes finally decided to face the gruesome task of disposing of Ann Corcoran’s body. After covering her body “very well with coal bags”, Hayes removed the body that night.