Friday 23 March 2018

Garda had doubts on confession to murders

Mark Nash denies the murder charges against him
Mark Nash denies the murder charges against him

Alison O'Riordain

A murder trial has heard that a garda sergeant had reservations about a man who was first charged with a 1997 double murder in Grangegorman as the man was "a bit of a Walter Mitty".

Dean Lyons, now deceased, was the first person who made an independent admission to the murder of Sylvia Shields (60) and Mary Callanan (61) in March 1997 and he was charged with the double murder of the women in the sheltered accommodation in Grangegorman in July of that year.

Mark Nash (42), who has last addresses at Prussia Street and Clonliffe Road in Dublin, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the murder of the women between March 6 and March 7, 1997.

The court yesterday heard how a door key, identified as belonging to Ann Mernagh, was located in a garden, just 25 metres from Orchard View in Grangegorman in the aftermath of the murders.

Ms Mernagh was the third woman who lived in sheltered accommodation in Grangegorman, but was left unharmed in the third bedroom.

Mr Patrick McGrath SC, for the defence, told the court how Dean Lyons pointed out a hedge at a house on Rathdown Road in Grangegorman where he said he threw the key after leaving the house at Orchard View the night of the murders.

Mr McGrath then read to the court a statement dated July 26, 1997 where Lyons said: "I then left through the front door, there was a key in the lock with a tag on it, when I left the house I threw it into the bushes."

The court heard that on the following day July 27, 1997, three guards took Lyons to the scene.

"Dean Lyons pointed to a hedge of a house on Rathdown Road and said it was in that garden" where he had thrown the key, read Mr McGrath from the statement.


The guards were aware at this time that a key had been found in the garden of the house on Rathdown Road.

Under cross examination from Mr McGrath, Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne told the court: "My understanding is a young girl who is now deceased found a key in her front garden and brought it to the attention of her mother, who returned it to gardaí and it was understood to be Ann Mernagh's key."

It was said to the court that in September 1997, the first retraction to the murders by Lyons was made in the form of a letter. The court also heard reference to a tear in the carpet in one of the bedrooms in Orchard View. Lyons told gardaí he stole £30 from under this carpet.

Irish Independent

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