Tuesday 17 January 2017

Murder accused told gardai he did not strike the deceased with baseball bat as he is 'not capable of doing it', trial hears

Alison O'Riordan

Published 02/03/2016 | 19:06

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A Hungarian murder accused told gardai that he did not strike the deceased with his baseball bat as he is "not capable of doing it", a trial jury has heard.

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Zoltan Almasi (44) with an address at Harbour View, Naas, Co Kildare is charged with murdering Joseph Dunne at the same address on May 16, 2014.

Last week at the Central Criminal Court Mr Almasi pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Dunne.

Today prosecution counsel Mr Bernard Condon SC called Detective Garda Martin Long from Naas Garda Station to give evidence.

The court heard on the morning of May 17 Det Gda Long and Gda Noel Whelan went to an interview room with the accused.

In the first interview Mr Almasi told gardai he had lived in Harbour View House in Naas for the past three years and owned a white Mercedes van.

Mr Almasi said he parked his van at the front of his garage door on the night of May 16.

The accused was about to take a shower when he heard a "banging" noise coming from outside his bedroom window.

Mr Almasi told gardai he saw "several men jumping and kicking the van" through his bedroom window.

"These two males were shouting when I looked out my window. I could hear them shouting 'why is that car parked here'," the accused said.

The court heard Mr Almasi then ran downstairs and grabbed a baseball bat from beside the entrance to his front door.

The accused ran out of his house and started shouting at the men "to look more dangerous."

"My intention was to scare them away to stop them damaging my car," Mr Almasi said.

The court heard Mr Almasi chased two of the men down the street.

"One of them was not afraid of the bat. He was still in confrontational mode," the accused told gardai.

One of the men then "fell on the ground" and Mr Almasi thought he was "not a danger" to him anymore.

Mr Almasi told gardai he was not the cause of this man falling as he was "too far away" from him at that point.

The accused also denied swinging the baseball bat in his direction.

Mr Condon read that it was at this point that Mr Almasi realised the front door of his house was open so he returned home.

Upon arriving at his house the accused did not inspect his van for any damage as it was "too dark to see."

Mr Almasi told gardai he kept the baseball bat at the entrance to his house as he had several incidences in the past of people walking on his roof as well as items going missing from his garden.

In the interview Mr Almasi agreed with gardai that his baseball bat did "not connect in any way with those males or females."

In his second interview with gardai Mr Almasi maintained he did not strike the deceased in any of his "dealings with him."

"You maintain Joseph Dunne fell by his own hand and you had no part in it?" asked gardai which Mr Almasi agreed with.

"I didn’t see the impact as he was falling face down. I can't remember if he hit another object. Those injuries were not from myself," Mr Almasi said.

When it was put to the accused that the strike from the baseball bat caused Joseph Dunne's death, Mr Almasi said: "I didn’t do it, I'm not capable of doing it."

The trial continues.

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