Tuesday 20 March 2018

Dale Creighton murder trial: 'I hit him for pulling a knife out and robbing my sister’s bag,' says accused

Dale Creighton
Dale Creighton

Natasha Reid

One of seven Dubliners charged with murdering a man, who was beaten to death, said he had hit him because the deceased had pulled a knife on him and stolen his sister’s phone.

A jury in their Central Criminal Court trial was yesterday hearing evidence of garda interviews conducted with one of the accused, David Burke, who said he had tried to stop others assaulting the deceased.

Dale Creighton was assaulted on New Year’s Morning 2014 at the footbridge over the Tallaght bypass between Saint Dominic’s Road and Greenhills Road. The 20-year-old died in hospital the following day.

A woman and six men, who are in their 20s and from Tallaght, have all pleaded not guilty to murder.

They are 23-year-old Aisling Burke and 28-year-old David Burke, both with a current address at Beechpark, Collinstown, Co Westmeath; Graham Palmer (26) with a current address at Park Avenue, Portarlington, Co Laois; Ross Callery (23) currently of Gortlum Cottages, Brittas, Co Dublin; James Reid (26) currently of Glen Aoibhinn, Gorey, Co Wexford; Jason Beresford (23) with an address at Coill Diarmuida, Ard a’ Laoi, Castledermot, Co Kildare; and Gerard Stevens (27) currently of Grosvenor Square, Rathmines in Dublin.

Each accused also initially pleaded not guilty to violent disorder at the footbridge. However Jason Beresford later changed his plea and pleaded guilty to the violent disorder charge.

Garda Sinéad McCormack testified that she arrested Mr Burke at an address in Tallaght on the evening of January 2nd that year. He was interviewed a number of times at Rathfarnham Garda Station.

He said that he was on his way home from a club that New Year’s Morning, when he saw a number of males running around a corner. He said his sister then ran around the corner, screaming that they had her phone.

“I chased one of them,” he said. “He pulled a knife on me so I backed off.”

He said that other people were chasing him too and that he later saw commotion on the footbridge.

“They had him held so he couldn’t go anywhere,” he said.

He said that more people arrived, but he found out that the male he had chased didn’t have the phone.

“I legged it out of there. I didn’t want anything to do with it,” he said, denying in the early interviews that he had hit the deceased.

“They were all jumping in there to get at it,” he said. “I was saying to stop.”

He said that nobody apart from Mr Creighton had a weapon and said that the deceased was sitting and ‘wasn’t that bad’ when he left.

He was then shown CCTV footage of the fatal assault and he identified himself holding a steel rod or pole.

“I threw that little steel yoke I had off the bridge at him,” he said. “The only reason I had it going onto the bridge was to protect myself.”

“Did you assault him there?” he was asked at one point.

“Yeah, I gave him a dig or two,” he replied.

“I hit him a dig for pulling a knife on me and robbing my sister’s bag,” he said later.

He was asked if he had kicked him.

“I kicked him in the leg as well,” he said.

He was later shown footage of Mr Creighton being lifted up and asked if the injured party looked ok there.

“Not at all, but that’s what I’m trying to say,” he replied. “I was trying to stop them. I picked him up about four times. You can see from the CCTV, I tried to keep everyone away from him.”

He said he was in shock and ‘lost it’ when someone threw Mr Creighton down the steps of the bridge.

He said in his final interview that he was sorry that he didn’t stop the assault.

“I tried. You can see in the video,” he said. “I didn’t murder him. I didn’t want him to get hurt.”

Garda McCormack agreed with his barrister, Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, that he had identified himself on the screen as trying to stop the assault, including when Mr Creighton was lying on the ground.

She agreed that the memos of his interviews were handwritten notes and could not be a full version of what was said. The barrister had used the videos of the interviews to add in certain omissions and read these out to the jury.

The trial continues before Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy and a jury of six men and six women.

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