Renato Gehlen displayed the ‘ultimate in toxic masculinity’ after being told she wanted a divorce

A man has been convicted of murdering his wife in Dublin in 2017 in a crime the prosecution described as the “ultimate in toxic masculinity” as he wanted to control the end of their marriage.

The 12 jurors took just 2½ hours to unanimously reject Renato Gehlen’s defence that Anne Colomines (37) stabbed herself to death after they fought about her having met “another man”.

The prosecution had said Gehlen’s account was “ridiculous” and “insulting” to the jury.

The 39-year-old had pleaded not guilty to murdering Ms Colomines at their home on Dorset Square, Gardiner Street upper, Dublin 1 on October 25th, 2017.

The accused (39) told gardaí that Ms Colomines had a knife on the night of her death and he did not know if she was going to do something to herself or him with it.

Gehlen, a Brazilian national, said he tried to grab the knife and they both fell to the ground during a struggle. He claimed that Ms Colomines, a French national, used the knife to stab herself in the abdomen as she fell.

He told gardaí it was “50/50 blame on both sides” and that he “tried to make her stop”. He said he later tried to kill himself as Ms Colomines was his family.

The jury accepted the State’s case that Gehlen had displayed the “ultimate in toxic masculinity” by stabbing his wife to death in an effort to control the end of their marriage.

In his closing speech, prosecution counsel Shane Costelloe SC argued that Gehlen had “lost control” of his wife and could not handle it, so he stabbed her. His actions, counsel said, were “the last roll of the dice” and amounted to him putting “the final full stop at the end of their marriage, not her”.

Defensive injuries

Chief State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan told the trial that she found four stab wounds to Ms Colomines’ torso, a 22cmincised wound to her throat and six incisions on her hands which were consistent with defensive injuries. Taking all the injuries together, Dr Mulligan said it was “highly unlikely” that Ms Colomines stabbed herself to death.

Evidence was given that on the night of her death, Ms Colomines exchanged 296 messages with her boyfriend, whom she had met in France earlier in 2017. The pair repeatedly said they loved one another and were planning for him to come and live in Ireland.

The exchange ended at 11.06pm and emergency responders arrived to find Ms Colomines’ lifeless body in her bedroom less than 30 minutes later.

The trial also heard that Gehlen spoke almost every day to his friend Ralph Comendador about the break-up of the couple’s marriage after Ms Colomines revealed that she wanted a divorce in late September 2017.

Gehlen, Mr Comendador testified, wanted to save the marriage and was upset that she wanted a divorce and did not want to speak to him.

Urge to stab

Mr Comendador also told the trial that on the night Ms Colomines died he received a message from the accused saying: “The same s**t man. No talk. Cold and avoiding. F**k, I really want to stab.”

When the witness later spoke to the accused, Gehlen told him: “Sorry, I killed Anne and now I’m going to kill myself.”

Gehlen had sent Ms Colomines’ boyfriend several messages including one warning him “not to ever go near” her again. Work colleagues and friends of Ms Colomines told the trial that in the months before she died she had wanted to divorce her husband and have a “fresh start”.

Following the verdict, Mr Justice Michael MacGrath thanked the jury for their service and he exempted the seven men and five women from jury service for 10 years.

The judge will on October 22nd hand down the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment to Gehlen, who showed little reaction after the verdict .

He remanded Gehlen in custody until that date, when the the Colomines family will have an opportunity to make a statement to the court about the impact of Anne’s death on their lives.

Source: The Irish Times