independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Murder victim was "stabbed to pieces" on church ruins, court told

The defendant pleaded guilty to the attempted murder charge at the Central Criminal Court
The Central Criminal Court

A Dublin man has told a murder trial that the accused stabbed the deceased ‘to pieces’ in the ruin of an old church five years ago.

Simon Griffin was giving evidence to the Central Criminal Court in the trial of a 36-year-old man charged with murdering a Dubliner by stabbing him more than 100 times.

Criostoir MacCarthaigh of An Gleann, Baile Phamar (Palmerstown), has pleaded not guilty to murdering David Whyte in Dublin between September 24 and 26, 2008.

Griffin testified today that he had a few drinks in his flat in Phibsborough on the night of the killing. He said his neighbour, Criostoir Mac Carthaigh, was one of those present and that he left with others around 11pm.

Griffin said he then heard another friend calling Mr Mac Carthaigh’s name and went outside to see why.

He said he saw the accused kneeling over a man, stabbing him with a small knife.

“I was in shock,” he said.

He said the accused told him to hold the man while he opened his car van.

“He told me to help him put the man in the back of the van,” he said, adding that he did so.

He said he was told to go into the back of the van with this man.

“I wasn’t given a choice,” he said.

He said that the accused then drove the van to Mill Lane in Palmerstown.

“I was told to bring him up into the field… to walk with the deceased,” he said, explaining that the man was not dead at this stage.

“We ended up at the church ruin,” he said.

“The man was stabbed to pieces. That’s literally it,” he said.

“The accused was kneeling down and David Whyte was lying on his back,” he said, adding that they remained in this position while Mr Whyte was stabbed ‘all over’ his body.

He said that Mr Mac Carthaigh also pulled Mr Whyte’s trousers down.

“I didn’t know what to do and I was afraid to do anything,” he added.

“The accused asked did I want a bit of him,” he said. “He probably wanted me to stab him. I didn’t do anything.”

He said Mr Mac Carthaigh asked him to throw Mr Whyte’s mobile phone in the ditch, and that he did so after disabling it.

He said the accused then told him to drive him to Mac Carthaigh’s mother’s house.

He said the accused spent five minutes in the house, changing his clothing and washing blood off himself before coming out.

“He went a little bit up from the house walking and stuck the knife in the ground,” he said.

He testified that he and the accused later burned the van’s carpet in the lane behind their house.

Griffin said he had pleaded guilty to impeding the murder investigation and had been sentenced to four and a half years in prison in 2011.

Under cross examination by Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, he agreed that he had rented a second bedsit in Phibsborough as a cannabis grow house.

However he said he didn’t remember the gardai finding five packages of cocaine underneath his window when they raided it in March 2009.

He agreed that the gardai also found five pipe bombs in the shed behind his home at that time. He remembered them telling him that the landlord said he was the only tenant with a key to the shed, but couldn’t remember discussing being charged with possession of the bombs.

He agreed that he was arrested on suspicion of Mr Whyte’s murder a few weeks later.

He also agreed that his then girlfriend had told him that Mr Whyte had been leering at her in the pub one night, but said he wouldn’t resort to violence.

Mr Hartnett put it to him that he was responsible for Mr Whyte’s murder.

“I wasn’t,” he replied.

The trial continues on Monday before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of seven men and five women.

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