Saturday 24 March 2018

Lyons had 'accurately described' knife - garda

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

Alison O'Riordan

A FORMER Assistant Garda Commissioner has told a jury how a man who was first charged with the 1997 double murder of two women, but later had the charge withdrawn, could not have "more accurately described" a knife found at the scene.

Dean Lyons, now deceased, was the first person who made an independent admission to the murders of Sylvia Shields (60) and Mary Callanan (61) between March 6 and March 7, 1997 and he was charged in July 1997 with the double murder of the women in their sheltered accommodation in Grangegorman.

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 murders of Ms Shields and Ms Callanan.

Mr Hugh Hartnett SC, for the accused, yesterday cross-examined James McHugh, former Assistant Commissioner of An Garda Siochana, with responsibility for the South East region in 1997 on Dean Lyons's statements.

Mr McHugh told the court how Dean Lyons was allegedly heard conversing with another person by two people in the Salvation Army hostel in Grangegorman "talking about the murders."

When gardaí met with him, Mr Lyons first words were: "I think I know what this is about", Mr McHugh told the court.

Mr Hartnett put it to Mr McHugh that Dean Lyons began to cry and said there was something bothering him, he had killed two ladies in Grangegorman and was very sorry.

Interviewed again on July 26 in 1997 by two gardaí, Dean Lyons made admissions in relation to his involvement in Grangegorman, describing the location of the window at Orchard View and the manner in which he had entered on the night of March 6 1997.

"He seemed to be hedging his bets. He said he got over a seven-foot wall and sort of went round the back where he broke a window and gained entry," said Mr McHugh.

The jury heard how Dean Lyon's description of a "black-handled sort of kitchen knife" which was taken from the drawer of the kitchen at Orchard View was consistent with the knife found at the scene. "It couldn't have been more accurately described," agreed Mr McHugh.

Mr McHugh agreed a "tremor" rang through the garda headquarters in the Phoenix Park when a second admission to the murders came from the accused Mark Nash in Galway.

Former Asst Comm McHugh agreed with Mr Hartnett that it was very clear that both statements could not be true so various examinations had to be carried out to see how both came in to existence and examine prompting and contamination.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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