Friday 28 November 2014

Police found knife in pocket of murder accused, court told

Tom Worden Tenerife

Published 28/11/2012 | 05:00

POLICE found a knife in the pocket of an Irish teenager accused of stabbing a ferry worker to death in Tenerife, a court heard.

Officers discovered the blade in 18-year-old Keith Burke's Bermuda shorts after taking him to a police station, a jury was told.

Detectives found a second kitchen knife with traces of blood on it not far from the spot where Abraham Baez Rodriguez (24) was killed.

Mr Burke is on trial accused of murdering Mr Baez in a drunken rage following a night out in the party resort of Playa de las Americas.

His former girlfriend Sara Stuart is accused of hitting the Spaniard's girlfriend around the head with a rock, knocking her unconscious.

On the second day of the trial, jurors were shown the volcanic rock, about 6 inches long and 4 inches wide, prosecutors say Ms Stuart used to attack Laura Negrin.

The jury was told Mr Burke and Ms Stuart went wild and lashed out at police who arrested them shortly after Mr Baez collapsed and died from a stab wound to his neck.

Both suspects kicked out at officers as they were restrained and put in police vehicles, it was said.

Ms Stuart was described as "very violent, hysterical and out of her mind".

Police also found bloodstains in their holiday apartment, near the scene of the tragedy.

The smears of Mr Burke's blood in the hallway looked like they had been hastily cleaned by hand, a detective said.

Witnesses said Mr Baez stumbled into a hotel reception with blood pouring from his neck after being stabbed in a major artery.

When police arrived they found him lying on his back, with his Spanish girlfriend, Ms Negrin, at his side with blood-soaked hair.

She was screaming: "Look what they've done to me! They hit me with a stone these sons of bitches!"

Ms Stuart, who had blood on her face, is said to have approached Ms Negrin, saying "Sorry, sorry, sorry".

Mr Burke later arrived at the scene and tried to drag his girlfriend away, the jury was told.

But they were both arrested and driven to a nearby police station.

All four of those involved in the fight had been drinking heavily. Tests revealed the dead man was almost four times over the drink-drive limit.

Mr Burke, now 21, denies murdering Mr Baez and claims the Spaniard attacked him.

He admits carrying a knife on the night of the killing, but says he never took it out of his pocket.

Ms Stuart, now 31, denies assaulting Ms Negrin with a rock.

The trial in Tenerife's capital Santa Cruz continues.

Irish Independent

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