14th March 2004

Nurse Tracy Burns is killed at First Tower

Tracy Burns was killed on 14 March and, two days later, 18-year-old Paul Greenan was arrested and charged with murder, robbery and attempted rape of the 35-year-old. She had been found unconscious in a Paris Lane car park after she’d managed to call her ex-boyfriend using her mobile phone. Despite this, her injuries were so severe that she died in hospital two hours later.

When Greenan’s trial began, in May the following year, the prosecution alleged that he had drunk 12 pints of lager before the attack, and that while he had killed her, Greenan denied murder.

According to the Irish Independent, “Greenan inflicted horrific injuries on Miss Burns, including a ruptured liver and fractured eye socket, and left an imprint of his size 8 boot on her face.”

He wrote to his mother three days after his arrest, but the letter was intercepted by prison authorities and presented to the court.

As the BBC reported on 12 July 2005, “In badly-written English, Greenan wrote from HMP La Moye in Jersey: ‘I am a low life murderer and a stinking dirty rapist and I need a shot on the head for what I have done. I did not want to kill her but I did and that makes me a very evil person.’ The letter was intercepted by a prison officer.”

Psychiatric evaluation

Greenan was evaluated by a psychologist who told the court that Greenan showed psychopathic tendencies so severe that his was a very rare case, of the type that would usually result in the subject being involuntarily detained. If it could be shown that this had indeed had a bearing on his state of mind at the time of the killing, it would be a case of manslaughter, not murder.

However, when the jury retired later in the month, they returned to the court after two hours, passing a guilty verdict – not of manslaughter, but of murder. He was sentenced to serve at least 20 years in prison.

Greenan, who had only moved to Jersey from Northern Ireland three months before his arrest, asked to be sent to Belfast to serve his sentence.


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