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Meet the podcasters: Mens Rea

Crime+Investigation is a partner of CrimeCon UK, a new True Crime event, coming to the UK in September 2021. As part of the show, CrimeCon has gathered together your favourite True Crime podcasters in Podcast Row. Here fans will be able to meet the stars of their favourite shows in the flesh.

In a series of Q&As, Crime+Investigation has spoken to some of the podcasters who will be attending next year's CrimeCon as part of Podcast Row. In the second installment, we spoke to Sinead from Mens Rea.

Mens Rea: Q&A

Mens Rea is a fortnightly true crime podcast that discusses crime in Ireland and the UK. Mens Rea refers to the mental element of intent required to prove certain crimes have been committe. Mens Rea is researched, written and produced by host Sinead.

1. How would you describe your podcast in one sentence?

Court-heavy true crime storytelling, with an Irish twist!

2. What makes your podcast stand out from the crowd?

Apart from my focus on Irish-centric cases, I think my approach of relating the facts of a case with little to no comment, and stripped down approach set me apart. I let the story stand on its own - and leave it up to the listener to decide how to feel about what they’ve just heard. I certainly have my own opinions on each story, but that only slips out every once in a while!

3. What first sparked your interest in True Crime?

My mother loved a good police procedural. Once I realised that so many plot lines were inspired by real events I needed to go straight to the source.

4. What's your favourite part of the podcasting process?

I’m a very curious person, so research is my favourite part. I love finding out what happened.

5. What do you think your fascination with True Crime has taught you in your personal life?

People’s lives are always complicated, and often-times those you’d never suspect can cause untold damage. That realisation might make you want to pull away from people to protect yourself, but the better solution is to be open and honest with those closest to you, and if you need help in any aspect of your life ask for it as soon as possible. 

6. What's your favourite episode and why?

I love an early episode of my show. It’s about the horrific murder of Declan Flynn in a park near to the city centre. It was a homophobic attack, and just after that Pride marches began in Dublin. The episode charts the legal struggle for equality in Ireland for LGBTQI people from the 1980s to the passing of a constitutional amendment providing for Marriage Equality here.

7. Which case that you've featured on the podcast keeps you awake at night?

Jill Meagher. She was killed in Melbourne, Aus while walking home after a night out. Something I did countless times, just in Dublin. It’s so terrifying to think that something so simple can be - or is - dangerous and potentially fatal. It scares me, and makes me angry.

8. What do you now know about podcasting that you wish you knew when you started?

I wish I had practiced a bit more with trying to get my sound right. I knew absolutely nothing about audio, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me! It’s still my weak point today, but I’m glad that I can hear the improvement over the years!

9. What's one cold case you would like to see solved?

Fr. Niall Molloy. He was killed in 1985 at a friends home. A man was charged and brought to court, but the judge in the trial directed a verdict of not guilty before the proceedings ended. It came out later the judge was a friend of the accused’s family. The Garda (police) file on the matter was stolen by senior gangland figures which is what sucked me in. There’s something worth stealing in that file apparently! Gardai got the file back, but the case is still unsolved. 

10. What reforms are needed in the world of policing and the judicial system?

There is currently a Bill that has yet to be enacted which would reform our parole laws here. In Ireland, there is a mandatory life sentence for murder which sounds great until you realise that after 7 years they arre automatically entitled to apply for review. In reality, most “lifers” in Ireland serve less than 20 years. 

11. What's your favourite True Crime podcast, documentary or TV series and why?

Unfinished: Deep South was my favorite listen over the summer. It was about an African American farmer living in Arkansas who was lynched in 1954, and trying to unravel the story of that. But it also taught me so much about what life was like then in the South for a Person of Colour.

12. If you didn’t have a True Crime podcast, what type of podcast would you have?

I’d probably cover politics in a historical kind of way. It’s so important to learn about where we’ve come from, and how that impacts us today.

13. What are you most looking forward to at CrimeCon?

Podcast Row! I’m a huge podcast fan first and foremost and I’m so excited to get to meet people who I listen to and feel like I already know. I’m very shy though, so I’m likely to be starstruck! 

If you want to meet your favourite podcaster in person then visit Podcast Row at CrimeCon, Sinead from Mens Rea will be at the show all weekend along with many other of our favourite true crime podcast hosts – Check out the full podcast line up here.