Monday 24 July 2017

Murder accused threatened his ex-partner on phone hours before she died, court told

Vesel Jahiri (35) is accused of the murder of his girlfriend
Vesel Jahiri (35) is accused of the murder of his girlfriend

Andrew Phelan

Murder accused Vesel Jahiri threatened his ex-partner Anna Finnegan hours before she died saying “I know where you f***ing are, I’ll come and kill yous", the Central Criminal Court has been told.

A close friend of Ms Finnegan (25) said Mr Jahiri (35) made the threat over the phone, and the alleged victim was shaking, sobbing and “terrified” afterwards.

The friend, Janice O’Neill was giving evidence in the trial of Mr Jahiri, who denies stabbing Ms Finnegan to death.

The jury was told today Ms Finnegan had made the call to Mr Jahiri to ask for money she was owed and put it on speaker so her friend could hear. The call was made on Ms Finnegan’s mobile phone while she was visiting her friend’s house with her and Mr Jahiri’s two children.

Vesel Jahiri (35) is accused of fatally injuring his ex-partner Anna Finnegan (25)
Vesel Jahiri (35) is accused of fatally injuring his ex-partner Anna Finnegan (25)

The alleged victim later returned to her own home, where she was fatally injured.

Mr Jahiri, of Louth Village, Dundalk, denies murdering Ms Finnegan at her home at Allendale Glen, Clonsilla on September 21, 2012.

He also denies assault causing harm to her brother Karl Finnegan on the same date.

Led through her evidence by Patrick Marrinan, for the prosecution, Ms O’Neill told the court she was a close friend of Anna Finnegan and her sister Lisa Finnegan.

Ms O’Neill said she lived with her three children at The Way, Hunter’s Run in Clonee and would have met Anna Finnegan at least once per week.

Ms O’Neill knew Mr Jahiri and had met him two or three times. She was aware he had gone out with Ms Finnegan and they had been together since she was 15 years old.

Ms Finnegan and her two children came to her house at around 12.30pm on September 21. The children were aged around seven months and three years at the time, she said.

She agreed with Mr Marrinan that she and Ms Finnegan had a “normal day and a good laugh.”

Ms O’Neill said she was aware the accused and Ms Finnegan had separated and there was an arrangement in place whereby her brother Karl Finnegan was staying in her house.

She recalled Ms Finnegan calling Mr Jahiri on her phone and putting it on the loudspeaker. She could hear the conversation and the first thing she recalled Mr Jahiri saying was : “This is dangerous, what are you doing, Anna? I want to see the kids.”

Ms O’Neill recalled that Ms Finnegan was explaining to Mr Jahiri that he could not see the children until they went back to court.

“He was shouting at her, saying ‘I don’t care, I want to see my kids by 7 o’clock’,” she said.

The tone was “very angry”, she said, “It was a scary tone of voice, you know.. Being aggressive.”

Ms O’Neill said Ms Finnegan had asked the accused about the money he owed her and told him it was “for Auntie Frances.”

“Then Vesel said ‘I have the money, I have £5,000 in my pocket, I’ll give you the f***ing money’,” Ms O’Neill said.

She told the court Ms Finnegan had owed her landlord extra money so she said it was for her auntie so the accused would give her the money.

“He was screaming ‘I want to see the kids, I want to buy my f***ing children things,” Ms O’Neill said.

She gave evidence that when Ms Finnegan told Mr Jahiri he could not see the children, he said: “I know where you f***ing are, I’ll come and kill yous.”

Ms O’Neill said Ms Finnegan was shaken up and crying.

“He kept shouting into the phone, I’m going to kill you, this is very f***ing dangerous what you are doing. I know where you are. This is dangerous, I’ll f***ing kill you, Anna.’” Ms O’Neill said.

At one point, Ms Finnegan held her hand over the phone and was shaking and sobbing, and saying “what am I going to do, Janice? How am I going to get away from this? I’m terrified.”

Ms O’Neill said Ms Finnegan would not call her sister Lisa but did call Blanchardstown Garda Station.

Ms Finnegan left at around 8pm with her children. She hugged and kissed Ms O’Neill and texted to thank her when she got home. That was the last she heard from Ms Finnegan, she said, and she was subsequently made aware that she was at Blanchardstown Hospital.

Cross-examined by Micheal P O’Higgins SC, for the defence, Ms O’Neill agreed she was aware that relations between Lisa Finnegan and the accused had turned sour over an issue relating to the log book for a car.

Mr O’Higgins put it to her that there were raised voices and an argument between Ms Finnegan and Mr Jahiri and it was in this context the accused brought up Lisa Finnegan having gone with her sister to the HSE.

He had been using bad language about Lisa Finnegan, calling her a “bitch,” Mr O’Higgins said. Ms O’Neill said she did not hear him call Lisa Finnegan a bitch.

“He even made reference to ‘I am going to kill Lisa for this’,” Mr O’Higgins said.

Ms O’Neill said the accused did not say this.

She agreed that Anna Finnegan had signed off on passports for the children and became worried that Mr Jahiri would take their daughter to Kosovo.

She said Ms Finnegan had told Mr Jahiri to bring the money but to put it in her letter box or under a plant pot outside the door.

Ms O’Neill told Mr O’Higgins Anna Finnegan had whispered: “he’s threatening to kill us” while she had her hand over the phone.

She denied she was “over-egging it a little bit.”

Mr O’Higgins said the accused did use expletives, called Anna Finnegan a “motherf***er” but it was in the context of a serious row.

Ms O’Neill said Ms Finnegan had been terrified and she herself was “petrified of my life” and was so scared she ran out and put the house alarm on.

Tara O’Connor, a senior social worker at the HSE’s Wellmount Health Centre in Finglas, said a meeting was held there on September 6.

She assigned Karen Byrne to act as social worker in the case. Anna Finnegan had been “quite chatty” but upset at the meeting, she said.

Ms O’Connor took on the responsibility of telling Mr Jahiri that he had to move out of the house, as well as putting together a safety plan for the family.

Her advice had been if the accused did not leave or if Ms Finnegan did not leave with the children, then the HSE would consider taking the children into care. Ms O’Connor put allegations to Mr Jahiri about a threat to Ms Finnegan and to the children. He denied this and was blaming Ms Finnegan's family, she said.

He made reference to Ms Finnegan’s friends calling to the house and that they “weren’t good people and were on drugs.”

She told him any allegations would be investigated. He agreed to move out of the house under the safety plan.

The arrangement was that Ms Finnegan’s aunt Frances would be in the house for the night and her brother Karl would move in after that.

Arrangements were made for the accused to have access to his children in the Wellmount office on the morning of September 21.

In cross-examination, Ms O’Connor said she was aware Ms Finnegan was under pressure, including from her own family to leave the defendant.

She agreed with Mr O’Higgins, for the defence, that Ms Finnegan had been insistent that she wanted Mr Jahiri to have access to the children.

Ms O’Connor agreed that legal advice had been sought by the HSE about blocking the accused’s access to his children.

Lisa Finnegan attended the meeting as support for her sister but it was agreed she would not speak. That she was “not in (Mr Jahiri’s) camp was an understatement”, Mr O’Higgins said.

Ms O’Connor understood the meeting “did not go very well” and Mr Jahiri and Lisa Finnegan had argued. The meeting was effectively aborted and Mr Jahiri left.

She agreed with counsel that Mr Jahiri’s view was that the whole matter was a “set up” by the HSE.

Social worker Emma Crehan said she was at the meeting and Mr Jahiri had said Anna had not told him she did not want to be in a relationship with him. He said he felt Ms Finnegan had been influenced by her family that and Ms Crehan and Ms Byrne “had our own agenda.”

“He said no-one could love the children as much as their real father,” Ms Crehan said.

She told Mr O’Higgins she recalled the accused had mentioned receiving threatening text messages and that he was advised to go to the gardai. She did not recall “them saying they wanted him dead.”

Ms Crehan agreed Ms Finnegan did not have a problem with Mr Jahiri having access to the children.

Acting Assistant Manager at the women’s refuge in Bray, Anne McMorrow, said Ms Finnegan stayed there after a self-referral in August 2012. A garda called to say she had been reported missing and was told she was safe and well.

She was assessed and her risk was regarded as being serious. On September 4, she left with her young son to attend the community welfare officer and the refuge was later called to state she was in Connolly Hospital, the court heard. She was not informed at the time that Ms Finnegan had taken an overdose.

Ms Finnegan returned to collect her belongings and left the refuge on September 6, 2012.

Ms McMorrow said a man called saying he was Garda Brian Finnegan and then identified himself as Ms Finnegan’s cousin. He said he had been a garda but was no longer a garda and Ms McMorrow said she could not give out any information as the service was confidential.

The trial continues.

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