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Friday 29 August 2014

Murder accused raised concerns of welfare of ex-partner hours before her stabbing

Nicola Donnelly

Published 13/11/2012 | 16:42

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A MAN accused of murdering his ex-partner by stabbing her six times phoned the emergency service hours before the stabbing as he had concerns for her welfare.

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Garda Ambrose Duggan gave evidence on day six of the trial of Michael McDonald that he received a call from the accused at 10.28pm on May 12, 2010 requesting gardai to attend the house in Athy, Kildare.





Michael McDonald (51) of Barnhill, Castledermot, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ms Cummins on May 13, 2010 at Michael Dooley Terrace, Athy.



He has further pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to John Lawlor (44) of Pearse Terrace, Castledermot at Michael Dooley Terrace on the same date.

McDonald has admitted to the manslaughter of the mother-of-one but this plea has not been accepted by the Director of Public Prosecutions.





Phone record evidence showed McDonald had five conversations on the phone with Ms Cummins prior to him dialling 999.





Garda Duggan said McDonald was requesting gardai to go to the house where Ms Cummins was as he said his friend there had been ringing him for several hours and was “in a bad situation.”





A transcript of the call was read out and stated McDonald had said his friend, Ms Cummins, had “called me today to come over to me as she was being seriously abused over there,” and he wanted garda to go to the house to check things out.





He said McDonald spoke calmly on the phone, that his voice was a bit slurred which had given him the impression McDonald had drink taken at the time.





A sister of Breda Cummins told the jury that the last thing her sister said to her was “I love you sis” and had given her a hug, hours before her death.





June Cummins told prosecuting counsel Mr John Alymer, SC, on the evening of May 12, 2010, she had met Breda close to where they both lived at around 1.40pm.





“She handed me a bag of marshmallows and crisps for my children,” Ms Cummins told counsel.





“She seemed sober then but at around 6.30pm our mother phoned me and said Breda had called her and she wanted me to call in to check on her,” she said.





“When I went over to Dooley Terrace, Breda was complaining of pains in her stomach and an ambulance was there. She was rocking back and forth on the bed and she asked John Lawlor, the ambulance crew and Mrs Day to leave the room so she could talk to me,” Ms Cummins said.

Ms Cummins said Breda had told her she thought she was pregnant and that she “wished she had what I had.”





“I told her to go in the ambulance but she refused to and just wanted to sleep. She had a few drinks on her at this stage and after 15 minutes I went home as she wouldn't go in the ambulance.”





Ms Cummins said later in the evening she received a phone call from Breda asking for someone else.





“When I told her it was June here she just asked me then were the crisps and sweets ok for my children. Then she rang again about four times but I didn't answer as I was trying to get my children to bed as they had school the next day. I did text Breda to tell her this and that was the last I heard from her until I got a knock on the door at 5.30am from a garda telling me what had happened to Breda,” said Ms Cummins.





Ms Cummins agreed with defence counsel Mr Fergal Kavanagh, SC, that she was aware Breda had been struggling with alcohol but that she was not aware at the time she went to her house that Breda had consumed a bottle of vodka, a bottle of Baileys and some cans of beer.





She said Breda didn't leave any voice messages on her phone and that she thought Breda was ringing her by mistake as she said someone else's name when Ms Cummins first answered the phone.





“The last time I saw her alive was that evening. She gave me a hug and said 'I love you sis,” said Ms Cummins.





Earlier in the trial publican Thomas Murphy, who was the licensee of the Leinster Arms in Athy gave evidence that he was aware McDonald and Breda Cummins had been in a relationship for a number of years and that they were regular customers in the pub.





“Michael was ok at times in the pub but when he had a certain amount of drink on him I would ask him to leave and he would,” said Mr Murphy.





He said he was aware McDonald and Ms Cummins had broken up in April 2010 and said McDonald didn't take the break-up well.





“He told me he was upset at the break-up and one evening I dropped him home as he had a lot to drink and I had asked him not to come into the pub for about a month, which he agreed,” said Mr Murphy.





He said McDonald told him he would lay off the drink for a while and try and get his head together and maybe get things right again with Ms Cummins.





“He did say he was annoyed about John Lawlor being with Breda,” said Mr Murphy.





Under cross-examining by defence counsel, Mr Murphy said McDonald and Breda got on very well when he saw them together in the pub but that it was clear both had alcohol difficulties.





He also said McDonald had told him Breda had been in contact with him to “get back together.”





“Michael told me he wasn't sure if Breda was being genuine or winding him up,” said Mr Murphy.





The trial continues before Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley and a jury of eight men and four women.

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