Wednesday 7 December 2016

Murder accused told Gardaí he was defending himself against two men - court hears

Eoin Reynolds

Published 17/11/2016 | 17:55

Donal Colgan (64), of Killarney Street, Dublin 1, arrives at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin. Pic Collins Courts.
Donal Colgan (64), of Killarney Street, Dublin 1, arrives at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin. Pic Collins Courts.

A murder accused who stabbed a man to death told a garda that he was defending himself after being attacked by two men, his trial has heard.

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Donal Colgan (65), of Killarney Court, Killarney St, Dublin 1 has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 45-year-old David Sheridan outside Luigi's chip shop on the Capital's North Strand Road on August 17/18 2014.

Sgt Chris Cahill told prosecuting counsel Paul Burns SC that he was present when Mr Colgan was arrested in the early hours of August 19 and sat with the accused man in a garda car as he was brought to Mountjoy Garda Station.

He said that while in the car Mr Colgan said: "It was self-defence. Two Lads attacked me." Sgt Cahill said that he cautioned Mr Colgan again and wrote down what he had said.

The trial has previously heard from Garda Eoin Treacy who agreed with defending counsel Patrick Marrinan SC that the accused man used a knife to stab Mr Sheridan. The trial has also heard from witness Gary Kinlan that there was a fight between himself, David Sheridan and the accused man minutes before the lethal knife attack.

Detective Garda Kevin Keys told Mr Burns that he and other gardai interviewed Mr Colgan four times at Mountjoy Garda Station on August 19, 2014. He agreed with Mr Burns that during those interviews the accused man denied knowing Mr Sheridan or that he had anything to do with the stabbing. He denied going to Luigi's that Sunday night. When gardai asked him if they had the wrong man he replied: "of course you do". In his third interview he told gardai that he had been advised by his solicitor not to say anything.

When gardai asked him why he had said it was self defence and two lads attacked him, he said that he was in shock after gardai arrested him and threw him over a car. He said gardai had "jumped" him.

Det Gda Keys also agreed that Mr Colgan became emotional when a garda urged him to give his side of the story, saying that a man was dead and it looked as though he had killed him for no reason.

The court also heard from Teresa Marsella, who was working in Luigi's that night. She said that she recognised Mr Colgan as a regular customer who would come in about three times a week and order a bag of chips. The night of the stabbing was busy so she didn't pay much attention to what was being said when Mr Colgan, the deceased man and his friend Gary Kinlan, and a group of three younger men gathered in the shop.

She told Mr Burns that the first thing she noticed was seeing punches being thrown between Mr Colgan and Mr Sheridan outside the shop. When Mr Colgan left she thought that was the end of it. Minutes later, as she stood at the door of the shop, she saw Mr Colgan return. She said: "He took something out of his jacket and I thought I was seeing things but it was a knife. He stabbed him and I walked away screaming."

Detective Sergeant Mark Watters told Mr Burns that he searched Mr Colgan's home following the arrest and found shoes, a black jacket and a pair of jeans, all stained with blood. He also seized a block of knives from the accused man's kitchen. Dr Edward Connolly, a scientist with Forensic Science Ireland, examined the blood stains on the jacket. He told Mr Burns they matched the DNA profile of the deceased. He could find no trace of blood on the block of knives.

The trial will continue on Monday in front of Justice Carmel Stewart and a jury of nine men and three women.

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