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Thursday 21 August 2014

Elderly man was 'like a grandad' to Limerick man accused of his murder, court hears

Published 16/01/2014 | 18:14

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A murder trial has heard that a Limerick man accused of murdering an elderly man with a sweeping brush said that the deceased was ‘like a granddad’ to him.

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Christopher McNamara (21) of Good Shepherd Villas, Pennywell road in Limerick has pleaded not guilty to the murder of James Boyce (71) at St Munchins Street, St Mary’s Park in Limerick between March 6 2011 and March 7 2011.

The court heard a series of witness accounts today (Thursday) saying that on the night that James Boyce was murdered, the accused Christopher McNamara was seen carrying a significant amount of money in fifty-euro notes.

Simon Twohig who was with the accused on Monday March 7th 2011, told members of the jury that Mr McNamara said that the death of James Boyce would affect him very badly.

Micheál O’Higgins SC, prosecuting confirmed with Mr Twohig that he met Christopher McNamara between 2.30pm and 3pm on Monday March 7th 2011.

Mr Twohig confirmed that Christopher McNamara had picked him up in a car and that he noticed a bandage or cloth wrapped around Christophers wrist. When asked about it, the accused replied “it has been sore since this morning.”

Both men had then entered the house of the accused where between 9pm and 10pm Christopher McNamara received a phone call telling him Jimmy Boyce was dead.

Christopher told Mr Twohig that Jimmy Boyces death would affect him very bad saying, “Jimmy was like a granddad to me”.

Also present on March 7th 2011 was Aran Hayes who said that the accused told him he had bought a car that day for €1,100.

In a statement read to the court by the prosecution Maurice Coffey BL, Mr Hayes said “he picked me up in his Corolla and told me he bought the car for €1,100.”

“Christy rang me at around 2pm (Monday 7th). He said are you coming out for a spin - I bought it (the car) a while ago – I got a handy touch and just bought it.”

Mr Hayes said that the accused had seemed excited about the car but did not say where he had gotten the money to pay for it.

“Christy seemed excited about having a new car. He drove into town to HMV and bought two cds. He never told me where he got the money for the car.”

The court then heard from three witnesses who saw the accused with a large amount of fifty-euro notes on the night of the murder.

All three confirmed that after midnight, Christopher McNamara had dropped a large number of notes on the ground.

A statement by witness Benny Grant junior read to the jury by the prosecution Maurice Coffey BL, said that the accused was carrying more than €3000.

Mr Grant said that Christopher McNamara had approached him after midnight on March 7th and said “do me a favour and count the money – I won it on the horses.”

The statement said that Mr Grant had divided the fifty-euro notes into bundles of €500 and that it came to €3,325 in total. Mr Grant had then allowed the accused to use his bathroom and when the accused returned, he took out one bundle of fifty-euro notes, which he then threw in the air saying “look at that for money”.

Mr Grant then said that he noticed one of Mr McNamara’s hands was blood smeared and swollen. He said the accused was ‘steamed’ and “you could smell the drink off him”. He told Mr Grant that he was going to buy a car the next day before leaving the house. 

Further CCTV footage was shown to the jury in which the accused was holding a number of fifty-euro notes at an electrical store. He was also captured affixing L plates to the same Toyota Corolla mentioned in witness accounts.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and a jury of seven men and five women. 

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