A  Northern Ireland pharmacist has been found guilty of murdering her 81-year-old neighbor on Christmas morning 2008 using a crucifix. 

She had planned to have plastic surgery and escape abroad after the killing and continue her hectic social life the court was told.

The jury unanimously found Karen Walsh (45) guilty of murdering and sexually assaulting her elderly neighbor 81-year-old Marie Rankin. No motive was ever discovered

On the ninth day of trial the Belfast court heard that prosecution in the Marie Rankin trial made an “overwhelming case” against the accused, according to the Evening Herald.

Rankin was found naked and murdered, in her Dublin Road home, in Newry, on Christmas morning. She was beaten to death with a crucifix, had 15 fractured ribs, and had been sexually assaulted.

Police believe she was sexually assaulted to make it look like it was a male stranger who had entered the pensioner’s home and assaulted her.

Read More:

Irish lawyer recognizes symptoms of an abused woman in Barbara

Bodies of murdered Irish women returned to Ireland

Two Irish women murdered over teen’s marriage plans in Turkey - VIDEO


In summing up the case for the prosecution, counsel Liam McCollum told the court that Walsh had been in Rankin’s house that night. Walsh had owned the house next door.

McCollum explained that Walsh’s DNA had been found on the victim and on the murder weapon.

Walsh denies her involvement in the murder and gave conflicting accounts of her movements.

The lawyer said she is either the killer or “the unluckiest person in the world that someone else did it but left so much incriminating evidence which points to her guilt".

There was no evidence of forced entry into Rankin’s home and no other forensic evidence to link anyone else to the scene.

Phone records show that there were several attempts to contact Richard Durkin, Walsh’s husband, a successful accountant and tax consultant, from Rankin’s home phone between 7.30am and 7.40am.

McCollum called Walsh’s testimony of events “bizarre” and “unbelievable”.

As Walsh was led from the court, she turned and told the judge: "I'm completely innocent."