Sunday 23 October 2016

Man accused of murdering grandfather (55) told gardai he was poisoned by the man's daughter, court hears

Daniel Hickey

Published 01/02/2016 | 18:30

VICTIM: Michael Gannon was babysitting at time of attack
VICTIM: Michael Gannon was babysitting at time of attack

A man accused of murdering a 55-year old grandfather told gardai he was poisoned by the man's daughter, the Central Criminal Court has heard today.

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The man admitted to stabbing his next door neighbour's father, a jury heard today.

The jury will hear evidence from a consultant psychiatrist that at the time of the killing the man was suffering from acute schizophrenia, the court also heard. 

Dragos Nica (30), of Mourne Park, Skerries, Co Dublin has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the murder of Michael Gannon (55) at Mourne Park, Skerries, Co Dublin on November 14th, 2013.

Today, the jury of seven men and five women was told that Mr Nica admits to stabbing Mr Gannon.

He also admits that Mr Gannon died as a result of the stab wound, the court heard.

Prosecuting counsel Patrick Treacy SC told the jury it will have to decide whether or not Mr Nica is guilty by reason of insanity.

Giving evidence today, Sergeant David Kemp, of Balbriggan garda station, told the jury that, on the afternoon of the alleged murder, Mr Gannon was babysitting his daughter Jade's two young children and a neighbour's child at Jade's house in Mourne Park, next door to Mr Nica's house.

The court heard that Mr Gannon was making dinner when one of the children told him a man was looking in the window of the living-room.

Mr Gannon went to investigate, opened the door and the accused man was there, the court was told.

Sgt Kemp said that Mr Gannon was stabbed and died within a few feet of the stabbing.

The children ran to the neighbour's and the gardai were called, he said. 

After the incident, Mr Nica returned to his own house and he was "shouting and roaring" from his own house, Sgt Kemp told the jury.

"Some witnesses said that he was shouting something about having lumps on his body. He said he had these lumps and they were poison and that he had to do it. He identified Jade Gannon as the being the cause of the poison," Sgt Kemp said. 

The court heard that Mr Nica knew Jade Gannon before the killing.

Sgt Kemp said, "There was some sort of relationship between them. They were friends. Mr Nica minded her kids on occasion. He did some minor errands on her behalf. Mr Nica asserted there was a physical relationship between them."

The sergeant added, "He asserted he had strong feelings for her."

The jury heard that Mr Nica called 999 and spoke with a civilian call taker at Emergency Central Control, reporting that he had stabbed his next-door neighbour and that he was poisoned by the man's daughter.

Gardai arrived at Mr Nica's house and met his mother who told them he had locked himself inside his bedroom and said he was going to die, the court heard.

Sgt Kemp said that after Mr Nica was arrested, he told the guards, "She zapped me on my wedding finger with poison. It's all up my left arm."

He told the arresting officers it was Mr Gannon's daughter who poisoned him and that he "had to do it," the court heard.

Sgt Kemp told the jury that Mr Nica said: "The poison is killing me. I stabbed him to stop the poison."

Mr Nica was taken to Balbriggan garda station where he was interviewed four times, the court heard. 

The contents of the interviews were read to the jury.

Mr Nica told the guards that on the afternoon of the alleged murder he had bought 10 Euro of marijuana, which he smoked in his bedroom while listening to music, the jury was told.  

He listened to the song "Places to Go" by 50 Cent on repeat, the court heard, before he saw a bulge the size of a ping-pong ball on his arm.

Mr Nica told the guards that, a few weeks earlier, he had been drinking with Jade Gannon at her house, next door to his, with some other friends, the court heard.

He said that Ms Gannon was upstairs in her bed, he began to remove her trousers when he felt a sting on his left hand's ring finger and that he believed Ms Gannon had stung him with poison, the jury heard.

"I got freaked out," he told the guards, referring again to the afternoon of the alleged murder. "I thought I was going to die. That's what made me do it."

He said he was driven by "anger and despair".

The jury heard that Mr Nica told the guards: "If I'm going to die, I'm going to go on a killing spree.

The court further heard that Mr Nica told the guards he took a knife from the kitchen and went next door, where he looked in the window and saw the children Mr Gannon was babysitting.

He told the guards that Mr Gannon opened the door. "I stabbed him. I saw him fall back and heard him say, You stabbed me."

"When the knife went in, I lost all of my anger or most of it anyway," he said during the interviews.

Mr Nica then returned to his bedroom and sat in a foetal position, he told the gardai, the jury was told.  

The gardai asked Mr Nica about his relationship with Mr Gannon, the court heard, and Mr Nica replied, "I spoke with him once or twice. We shared a joint once or twice. I didn't hate him or anything. It was my own fault."

Sgt Kemp also told the court that Mr Nica said, "I know a lot of people know me, like Eminem, 50 Cent, the gardai and Mr Obama know me. They would've stopped me if they were there. They should've said something through the speakers."

The jury also heard today that at the time of the alleged murder Mr Nica had stopped taking his medication and was smoking cannabis.

His family, originally from Romania, moved to Ireland in 1997, the court heard.

The court also heard that, prior to the incident, Mr Nica twice attempted suicide.

During cross-examination, Sgt Kemp told defence counsel Jonathan Kilfeather SC that statements from Mr Nica's parents indicated suspicions as to whether or not their son was taking his medication.

Sgt Kemp agreed with Mr Kilfeather that a statement from a man who knew the accused said that Mr Nica "told us stories about the CIA watching him through the red lights of the television and that he invented the LUAS and was waiting to get his share."

The trial, expected to last three days, continues.

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