Saturday 29 April 2017

Witness admits lying to murder trial by failing to mention deceased had hatchet

The Criminal Courts of Justice and inset Christopher Nevin
The Criminal Courts of Justice and inset Christopher Nevin

Eoin Reynolds

A witness has admitted that he lied to a murder trial by failing to mention that the deceased had a hatchet in his hand when he entered the row that led to his death.

Wayne Casserly was giving evidence at the Central Criminal Court in the trial of Wayne Cluskey (25), and Josh Turner (24), both of Mooretown, Ratoath, Co Meath. The two men have pleaded not guilty to the murder of 27-year-old Christopher Nevin at Tailteann Road, Navan on November 19, 2015.

The trial has heard that Mr Turner lent a male chihuahua to the deceased to breed with his three females. When only one of the chihuahuas got pregnant a dispute arose, ending in the fatal fight.

Under cross examination from Mr Turner's defence counsel, Patrick Marrinan SC, Mr Casserly said Mr Nevin took a hatchet with him when he went out to confront the two men about the chihuahua. He agreed that this was not what he said during his evidence to prosecuting counsel Michael O'Higgins SC, and added: "That is the only lie I told."

Mr Casserly agreed that Josh Turner backed away with his arms up when Mr Nevin emerged with the hatchet. He also agreed that it was only after Mr Nevin emerged with the hatchet that Wayne Cluskey took an axe from his car and ran at Christopher Nevin. He said he seemed to barge into Mr Nevin with his shoulder.

Mr Marrinan said that as this was happening, his client Josh Turner, went inside Mr Casserly's house and shouted for someone to "come and stop this". Mr Marrinan said he further accepts that he then struck Mr Nevin several times. "He regretted what he had done and had to be taken from the scene," he said.

Mr Marrinan asked Mr Casserly if he had also lied when he said that after the incident Josh Turner told him, "keep your mouth shut". Mr Casserly replied: "I know what you are saying but that is what he said to me."

Wayne Cluskey's mother Caroline Vaughan told Mr O'Higgins that her son and the other accused man lived together at the family home in Ratoath. On November 19, 2015 she called to the house at about 5pm and found Josh "covered in blood". Wayne also had a "bit of blood" on him. She said Wayne was shouting at Josh: "There was no need for that. You shouldn't have done it."

She thought they had been fighting one another so she took Josh away in her car and asked him what had happened. He told her: "I was fighting with Nevs." She said he was upset, crying and told her he had hit "Nevs" once on the head. He asked her to take him to a police station but she instead took him back home.

The following day she received a phone call from her son, Wayne, who was crying and told her "Nevs is dead". He said he was going to call a garda in Navan and she told him that was the best thing to do.

Mr Cluskey's girlfriend Alex O'Driscoll told Mr O'Higgins that Wayne was "in bits" that evening. She said he told her that Mr Nevin had hit him with the hatchet and that he was frightened.

She said both men were crying and that she overheard Josh say that he would take the blame.

The trial continues on Monday in front of Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of nine men and three women.

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