Saturday 21 April 2018

'I didn't feel I had stabbed him' - Teen charged with murdering sister's 17-year-old boyfriend

Dovydas Jenkus (17)
Dovydas Jenkus (17)

John Fallon in Castlebar

A teenager charged with murdering a 17-year old in Co Mayo a week before Christmas said he never intended to stab him and that it was an accident.

The accused, who had just turned 16 at the time of the incident on December 19, 2015, said he was shocked to find the youth, who he knew, in a locked bedroom with his 14-year old sister in their home in Claremorris in the early hours of the morning.

The accused, who cannot be named because of his age, said he had been friends with the victim but had been told by his mother to stay away from him because he was always getting into trouble.

The accused, who is now 17, told investigating gardai in a number of statements, that he steered clear of the deceased because incidents always seem to happen when he hung around with him.

Dovydas Jenkas, of Mount Street, Claremorris, died from a single stab wound in the early hours of the morning on December 15, 2015.

The Central Criminal Court, sitting in Castlebar, Co Mayo, was told that there had been a number of incidents involving the deceased which resulted in his parents being called into the secondary school he attended.

These included allegations of bullying, an incident where a student’s hair was scorched with a cigarette lighter, and €100 in cash which went missing. The deceased had been suspended from school for a number of days.

The victim’s mother, Ilona Jenkuviene, told Justice Eileen Creedon and a jury of eight women and four men, that there had been a number of incidents at the school.

She said that her son liked school even though he wasn’t very good at studying. There had been some language issues — she, her husband and five children had moved to Mayo from Lithuania in 2012 — but he was intelligent and was settling in well.

She and her husband worked long hours at a meat plant in Mayo and the last time she saw her son alive was at 8pm on December 18, the day he finished school for Christmas, when the parents and their five children were together in their house that evening.

She went to bed at 8pm, having got up for work at 5.30am that morning, as she was working the following day and she did not know that her son was planning on going out that night.

She did not know that her son had started going out with the sister of the accused, although the two families knew each other vaguely and were part of the Lithuanian community in Claremorris and Mayo.

The accused said he was alone with his sister that night in their house as their mother had gone to Castlebar. He told gardai he felt an obligation to mind his younger sister and understood that his sister had gone to bed in his mother’s bedroom after 11pm that night.

He was playing video games on his computer in his own bedroom and some time after 1am went to get something to eat and was surprised to hear noises from the bedroom where his sister was.

He knocked on the door but it was locked and when his sister eventually let him in he noticed the door to the ensuite was closed. He tried to open it four or five times but someone on the other side was holding it closed. He rang his mother and said there was an intruder in the house. His sister said it was a classmate but he knew it was a boy.

When he left, the bedroom the door was locked again. He went to his room and picked up a homemade knife. He said he had manufactured a number of items including a wooden paper-towel holder; the knife had never been used, it was just ‘a souvenir knife.’

He looked out the bathroom window and spotted someone climbing out the bedroom window and recognised Dovydas Jenkas. He was shocked to discover the 17-year old in a locked bedroom with his 14-year old sister.

He told Dovydas Jenkas to leave and ran downstairs in his underwear with the knife to scare him. He said he wanted to protect his sister and himself but never intended to stab Dovydas Jenkas. “I would never hurt him on purpose,” he said in a statement.

“There was no reason for me to stab him. If I knew that was going to happen I would not have picked up the knife,” he added.

When he went out to the back garden it was muddy and dark. He told the deceased to leave and chased after him. They ran around a trampoline four or five times. Then Dovydas Jenkas stopped and turned back.

The accused said he bumped into him and did not realise he had stabbed him. He thought Dovydas Jenkas was ‘faking it’, or drunk, when he fell backwards. He thought Dovydas Jenkas might try to take the knife from him. “I didn’t feel I had stabbed him,” he said.

It was only when he went back into the house and saw blood on the knife that he realised he had stabbed him. By then his sister had gone to Dovydas Jenkas and started screaming when she realised the teenager had been stabbed.

Neighbours and later paramedics rushed to the scene but were unable to save the 17-year old.

The trial will resume on Tuesday morning and is expected to conclude towards the end of next week.

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