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Central Criminal court hears woman who provided alibi following fatal Kilkenny fire later changed her statement

Martin Kelly of Church Avenue in Castlecomer will be sentenced on Monday next after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Gerry Nolan

A man that has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Gerry Nolan, who died in a caravan fire in Castlecomer nearly 16 years ago, will be sentenced next Monday.

Martin Kelly of Church Avenue in Castlecomer has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Nolan but guilty to his manslaughter on 24th of July 2006.

A sentence hearing yesterday was told that Mr Kelly’s former partner who had provided an alibi following the incident had since come forward of her own volition and changed her statement.

The Central Criminal Court heard that Martin Kelly was in a relationship with a woman at the time of the incident, and that she had made a formal statement to Gardaí in which she initially indicated that she had been out with Kelly on the evening of Gerry Nolan’s death, before returning home, and that their car hadn’t moved that night.

However when the case was re-examined in 2015, the woman who had then split from Mr Kelly admitted to detectives that she had not told the truth in her initial statement.

Instead she told Gardaí that Kelly had in fact left their address in the early hours of the morning of July 24th 2006 and that he had made remarks to her that he was responsible for setting the fire.

Victim impact statements from members of Gerry Nolan’s family were also heard in court on Monday, in which he was described as a “kind and gentle soul”, and that he was killed in a “severely sick and horrendous way.”

Barrister for Martin Kelly, Michael Bowman SC said that his client offers an unqualified and unreserved apology to the Nolan family for what transpired, and that he takes complete responsibility for his actions.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott remanded Kelly in custody until next Monday, when he will be sentenced.