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JOE O'Reilly was awaiting his fate last night after a jury was sent out to decide whether he murdered his wife Rachel.

There could be a verdict today in the case which has captivated the nation.

The nine men and two women spent last night in a hotel after a final address to them by Judge Barry White.

They must now decide whether O'Reilly, 35, battered mum-of-two Rachel to death at their home in North Dublin in October 2004.

Last night they briefly stopped deliberating to ask for witness Derek Quearney's evidence to be read to them again.

Mr Quearney was a former colleague of O'Reilly and said he often covered for him when the accused left work to meet mistress Nikki Pelley - but said he would never cover up a murder.

After a four-week trial which has gripped Ireland, Judge White told the jury the case must be decided purely on the evidence put before them.

O'Reilly has pleaded not guilty to murder. The prosecution alleges the case was not one of a botched burglary, but rather one of a carefully planned murder and dismissed claims his wife had disturbed a burglar.

It claimed though much of the evidence was circumstantial, it would, in its entirety, prove beyond reasonable doubt the accused killed his wife.

But barristers for O'Reilly said the prosecution's case had a lot of innuendo and allegation but little substance, and urged the jury not to reach a verdict they thought the media wanted.

Judge White told the jury that O'Reilly was entitled to the presumption of innocence and that the state must prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

The judge said as there was no direct evidence in relation to Mrs O'Reilly's death, the state must rely on circumstantial evidence.

He added that what might satisfy one person in terms of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, may not satisfy another.


VERDICT DUE: Joe O'Reilly yesterday; AT COURT: Parents of Rachel, right
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 21, 2007
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