Monday 11 December 2017

Elderly man had 'rope placed around his neck and bag over his head', murder trial hears

Elderly man had 'rope placed around his neck and bag over his head', murder trial hears
Elderly man had 'rope placed around his neck and bag over his head', murder trial hears

Daniel Hickey

A brother and sister murdered an elderly man in an attempt to cover up a robbery, a jury at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin has heard.

Kenneth Cummins (28) and Sabrina Cummins (37), with an address at Ringsend Park, Dublin 4, have both pleaded not guilty of murdering Thomas Horan (63) at Cambridge Court, Ringsend on January 6th last year.

Opening the trial, prosecution counsel Remy Farrell SC told the jury that both accused called to the victim's house in the early hours of the morning in question.

Their intention was to get money, he said, adding, "They decided to rob him and decided to kill him."

Mr Farrell said that the jury will hear evidence that Mr Horan was "severely beaten," had a rope placed around his neck, a bag placed over his head, and that there was an "attempt to poison him" with cleaning fluids.

"It was done to cover up there was a robbery," he told the jury.

He further stated, "Every step they [the accused] took after this was an attempt to cover their steps."

Mr Farrell told the jury that they will hear evidence from a neighbour of the victim who, in the early hours of the morning of the alleged murder, heard the victim's voice and the voices of a man and woman.

Post-mortem evidence will be "very important," Mr Farrell told the jury. He said that this evidence will show that Mr Horan's death was caused by head, neck and chest injuries, "very significant and substantial injuries you might associate with a savage beating."

Both Kenneth and Sabrina Cummins were arrested two days after Mr Horan's body was found, he told the jury.

The court heard evidence today from Mary Rose O'Sullivan about a 999 call received on the date of the alleged murder.

A woman who called herself Joanna called 999 and told Ms O'Sullivan that she had found the body of her friend, the court heard.

A recording of the call was played to the jury, who heard the caller say, "He's on the side of the bed, on the floor beside the stereo."

The caller asked for the guards to be sent to Cambridge Square in Ringsend, the court heard.

Garda Ciaran Sweeney told the court that he was on patrol on the morning in question when, at 5am, he was dispatched to the area of the alleged murder.

Gda Sweeney said that he noticed a couple sitting on the wall outside the Old Presbytery on Cambridge Rd. "They were the only people around," he said.

A woman who he identified in court as the accused, Sabrina Cummins, approached Gda Sweeney. She identified herself as the 999 caller, he said.

Gda Sweeney told the jury that Ms Cummins told him that she was on her way home when she saw the victim's body through the window of his apartment.

It was "absolutely impossible" to see in the window Ms Cummins had referred to, Gda Sweeney told the court.

He also told the court that he told Ms Cummins he would be in contact with her and her brother later to obtain a statement in relation to the incident. "She said that she had no issue with this," Gda Sweeney told the court.

Ms Cummins told Gda Sweeney that the victim was "like a foster father" to her, the court heard.

One of the accused, Kenneth Cummins, is not present in court for the trial. Mr Justice Tony Hunt told the jury that Mr Cummins "has asked not to be present during the trial and I cannot see any reason this cannot be acceded to."

Mr Justice Hunt told the jury that Mr Cummins' absence is "not a piece of evidence."

"Draw no adverse inferences from that. It's a decision taken on a voluntary basis," he said.

The trial continues.

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