Murder accused told sister 'I'm coming down for you next, for you and your kids', witness tells court
Published 16/05/2014 | 19:26
A 33 year-old man accused of murdering his former partner told a friend she got in the middle of a knife fight he had with her brother but was ok, a jury has heard.
Vesel Jahiri, of Louth Village, Dundalk but originally from Kosovo, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Anna Finnegan at Allendale Glen, Clonsilla, Dublin 15 on September 21, 2012.
Mr Jahiri has also pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm on Anna Finnegan's brother, Karl, on the same date.
The Central Criminal Court has heard how Ms Finnegan and Mr Jahiri had been in a ten-year relationship that had “deteriorated dramatically”.
They had two young children together and “access had become more than a thorny subject”.
Last week, Karl Finnegan gave evidence that having put the children to bed upstairs, Anna and he were having tea in her kitchen when Mr Jahiri allegedly burst through the door and came bounding down the hallway with a knife in his hand.
An altercation took place, the court heard, in which Mr Finnegan was stabbed in the chest and head while Anna Finnegan fled in distress, screaming.
She ran outside to get help from a neighbour but collapsed on the roadside shortly afterwards, the court heard.
Mr Jahiri claims Karl Finnegan produced the knives and Anna was fatally injured while trying to stop her brother from stabbing him.
Electrician Damian Lynch, who worked and socialised with Mr Jahiri for ten years, gave evidence today that he spoke with the accused at approximately 9:40pm on September 21 2012, after Mr Jahiri had brought Anna Finnegan to hospital.
Mr Lynch said Mr Jahiri told him, "‘Damo it's all f****d up. I called up to Anna, her brother attacked me with a chair and a knife. I got the knife off him and defended myself. Anna jumped in the middle she got hurt’".
Mr Lynch said the accused told him he was after bringing Anna to hospital. He wanted her brother Karl to come but he wouldn't, the witness said.
Mr Lynch said Mr Jahiri told him Anna was ok but 'the brother got it bad'.
“He asked me to call the hospital to check if Karl was OK but I said that was beyond me, I couldn’t do that.”
Counsel for Mr Jahiri, Brendan Grehan SC, recited Mr Lynch’s statement to gardaí which he was woken out of bed at 11pm that night to make.
The witness confirmed that during the call he asked Mr Jahiri to come to his house because he thought the accused might kill himself. “He was in an awful state. His voice was almost crying, like."
Mr Lynch said he had no difficulty with the gardaí, that he wasn’t under pressure to change any parts of his statement though they cautioned him with advice on aiding and abetting and made him feel “like I was the criminal”.
After one hour of the garda interview, Mr Lynch said the officers informed him that Anna had passed away, which he hadn’t been aware of up until that point. “It will be on the news shortly,” gardaí had told him, the witness said. “That was a shock to me,” he told the court.
Mr Lynch said he and Mr Jahiri would regularly call each other to talk about cars they were fixing. He said they had three telephone conversations on September 21, 2012.
At approximately 5pm Mr Jahiri called him to say he hadn't been fixing cars lately, “’I’ve been trying to fix my family. I've been having trouble with Anna's sister,’” the witness said.
Earlier, Anna Finnegan’s sister, Lisa, gave evidence that she was at home with her family having dinner when a woman she had never met phoned to tell her there had been an incident at Anna’s home.
“’I'm afraid there's been an incident. Anna's not here, your brother's been injured'. She said she didn't know where Anna was,” the witness said.
Lisa Finnegan said she and her partner left immediately to go to the James Connolly Memorial Hospital and while she was on her way she got a call from Mr Jahiri.
“As soon as I picked up the phone I said ‘where's my sister’”. He replied to say he had brought her to the hospital, the witness said.
Ms Finnegan told him, she said, ‘if anything happens to my sister, jail will not save you’.
She said Mr Jahiri told her, “‘I'm coming down for you next, for you and your kids’”.
Ms Finnegan told the court that her response was ‘my sister better be ok, my brother better be ok’.
She was eventually told in the hospital at about 10:30pm that her sister had passed away, the witness said.
Under cross examination from Brendan Grehan SC, Ms Finnegan was asked why her direct evidence was at odds with statements she gave to gardai.
Ms Finnegan said there were parts of the telephone conversation that would never leave her mind. “It was the most horrendous phone call I've ever had,” she said.
“I have to suggest to you he never said he was on his way down to you and your kids,” Mr Grehan said.
“He did. My kids are my life,” the witness said.
Ms Finnegan said she never said anything to Mr Jahiri about sending him and his uncle back to Kosovo or about calling him a scumbag.
She said she never threatened to have him shot and said she would never make a threat like that against anybody.
Ms Finnegan confirmed she did tell Mr Jahiri she was going to make sure he never saw his kids again.
She said she didn't regard this as a falling out. “This was my reaction to finding out at that moment that he had been beating my sister for 10 years.”
The case continues on Monday before a jury of 6 men and 5 women with Mr Justice Paul McDermott presiding.
Additional evidence of Friday May 16 2014.
Mr Jahiri wouldn’t be a pub man, Mr Grehan suggested, to which Mr Lynch said ”no”. The witness agreed he wasn’t much of a drinker either. Mr Jahiri was all about “work, work and more work”.
“As I said he dropped up to me on my birthday in work clothes, he had one drink and went back to work at 12pm,” Mr Lynch said.
Mr Grehan asked him if Mr Jahiri said Anna’s brother attacked him with knives rather than a knife. “I don’t know,” Mr Lynch said.
Ms Finnegan confirmed to Mr Grehan that she had made threats to Mr Jahiri but not to kill or have him killed.
She threatened to have Anna and the children taken away from Mr Jahiri but "we took every legal route" available to do so, she said.
Ms Finnegan said she had made threats to Mr Jahiri on September 21, and that they had a full shouting match.
She said she knew Mr Jahiri had a low opinion of her. Ms Finnegan confirmed that she, along with her cousin, got the HSE and the gardai invloved in Anna's case.
She said she never told him she'd have a bullet put in his head.
Mr Jahiri believes, counsel said, that the reason Anna was brought to a refuge centre was to get her offside while he was to be killed.
“It was for Anna's safety,” she said.
“It was to arrange to have him killed while she (Anna) wasn't around,” Mr Grehan said.
“Ridiculous,” Ms Finnegan said.
Ms Finnegan said she knew Karl Finnegan arranged for Anna to get a new phone after she was brought to the refuge centre and that she immediately contacted Mr Jahiri on it.
She also knew Anna left the refuge centre with Mr Jahiri and they went back to Allendale together.
Ms Finnegan told the court she knew that Anna was brought to hospital that day. She said she heard talk that it was for a panic attack.
She said Anna never told her she'd taken an overdose of tablets.
Anna told the doctors, Mr Grehan said, “that she was being put under such pressure by her family, principally yourself (Lisa), that she took an overdose.”
“I didn't know that until the trial started,” Ms Finnegan said.
“She had been in the house on her own, Mr Jahiri had gone out to get milk with the baby and when he came back he found her in an unconscious state.”
Mr Finnegan said she was aware Mr Jahiri took a phone off Anna after she came out of the refuge centre. She assumed Mr Jahiri “wanted to keep her away from her us”.
Mr Grehan said “he took the phone and gave her another phone there was something on the phone she had shown him.”
“I didn't know about that,” Ms Finnegan said.
When asked if she knew Anna had told him to drop money down to the house on the afternoon of September 21, Ms Finnegan said Anna would never have said that.
Counsel said Mr Jahiri did not remember what threats he made during a heated exchange but he was adamant he made no threats Lisa Finnegan's family.
“He did,” Ms Finnegan said.