Tuesday 21 November 2017

Boyfriend of murder victim denies inviting accused to fight him before stabbing

Nicola Donnelly

THE boyfriend of a woman who was stabbed six times in the chest by her former partner has denied he invited the accused to fight him moments before the fatal stabbing incident.

John Lawlor (44) told the trial of Michael McDonald who is accused of murdering his former partner, Breda Cummins, that he never challenged McDonald to a fight when is has been alleged the accused had gone to the house to rescue Ms Cummins from Mr Lawlor.

It was day two of the trial.

Michael McDonald (50) of Barnhill, Castledermot has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the murder of Ms Cummins on May 13, 2010 at Michael Dooley Terrace, Athy.

He further pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to John Lawlor (44) of Pearse Terrace, Castledermot at Michael Dooley Terrace on the same date.

McDonald has admitted to the manslaughter of the 31-year-old mother of one but this plea has not been accepted by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Mr Fergal Kavanagh, SC, Mr Lawlor said he never put his fists up at McDonald when they were in the bedroom with Ms Cummins challenging him to a fight.

“You challenged him and he produced the knife which the accused had brought for his own protection as he was afraid you and Mr Fennell might attack him,” Mr Kavanagh put to Mr Lawlor to which Mr Lawlor denied.

“He (McDonald) stabbed me and that was it,” said Mr Lawlor but agreed he could not remember the circumstances when the knife was produced. He also said he could not remember how much drink he had drank.

Mr Lawlor also said he did not remember Ms Cummins phoning her ex-boyfriend McDonald earlier in the night but that it “could have happened.”

He agreed he, Ms Cummins and the house owner Michael Fennell had been drinking in a pub earlier in the day and had consumed alcohol that evening in Mr Fennell's house.

He denied that Ms Cummins had drunk so much that she was in a confused state and said “she wasn't mouldy drunk,” despite evidence given by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis that Ms Cummins had a blood alcohol level of 365mg/100ml – over seven times the legal drink-driving limit.

He said that despite Ms Cummins breaking up with him two days prior to her death, they had gotten back together.

“She wanted to be with me. She made her own mind up,” said Mr Lawlor.

He denied that Ms Cummins had said in front of him that she had wanted to get back with her ex- boyfriend McDonald.

Mr Kavanagh said Mr Fennell will say that Ms Cummins said “Let him up Mick” in reference to letting McDonald come upstairs to her bedroom when he had called to the house in a taxi.

“She seemed to have known it was him as if he had come to collect her,” Mr Kavanagh put to Mr Lawlor.

Mr Lawlor admitted he had been jealous in the eight weeks he had been together with Ms Cummins that she had been in contact with McDonald on the telephone. “Yeah, I was a bit upset and I said to her do you want me or him?”

Mr Lawlor said he didn't know if Ms Cummins had given the impression to McDonald that she did not want to be with him (Mr Lawlor).

“She had told me if I got new accommodation she would move in with me,” said Mr Lawlor.

Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis gave evidence that Ms Cummins had died due to multiple stab wounds. He said on examining Ms Cummins body he found a one centimetre penetrating stab wound behind her right ear and agreed with Mr Kavanagh that the ear wound could have been inflicted by someone who extended their arm behind them holding a knife.

He said he located Ms Cummins' body lying on her back on a bed with her arms to the side and her right leg overhanging the bed.

“She was fully clothed and cold to the touch,” said Dr Curtis. He said he located six stab wounds to the chest and he also said there was no evidence of pregnancy.

The trial continues before Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley and a jury of eight men and four women is due to last two weeks.

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