Friday 22 November 2019

Man accused of murdering flatmate after electricity bill row

Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) Dublin
Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) Dublin

Natasha Reid

A man has gone on trial, accused of murdering his flatmate at their Dublin apartment following a row about bills.

Jacky Lumi (42) of no fixed abode, but originally from Holland, is charged with murdering 31-year-old Kamal El Habsati on December 1st 2012 at Linnbhla, Santry Cross in Ballymun.

The Central Criminal Court heard yesterday that the deceased was of Moroccan descent, but had lived in Holland as a child. As well as sharing an apartment, both men also worked together, but relations had deteriorated between them.

Their colleague at Stream Global Services, Joost Dirske, said Mr Lumi was not happy living with the deceased.

“He was not happy with him being a Muslim and said he should have known better than to live with a Muslim because he had experiences with them before,” he said.

“Also about the electricity bill and Kamal not cleaning up and cooking in the middle of the night,” he added. “It was a regular topic.”

Their boss, Emmett Moore, gave evidence that they had both begun working for the company only a few months earlier. The accused had handed in his resignation a week before the incident but said he would work until the end of December.

He recalled that neither man had turned up for work on Monday December 3rd and that he failed in his efforts to contact them. He said that he became concerned and phoned their letting agent the following day to see if he knew anything.

Carpenter Stephen Durkin testified that the letting agent asked him to pick the apartment’s lock on December 5th. He managed to open the door and searched the apartment with the agent and a colleague.

Mr Durkin noticed a little blood in the hall and went to an ensuite bathroom, the only room they hadn’t checked.

“I opened the door and hit the man’s legs with the door,” he recalled. “We got a fright and left the area pretty quick.”

He said they called the gardai, but then thought that the man might still be alive so returned to the bathroom.

“I had a small torch and shone it in and he was clearly dead. I saw a knife stuck in here,” he said, pointing to his upper chest.

The jury saw footage of the accused entering the boarding area of Dublin airport on the morning of December 2nd and heard that he called gardai eight days later to say he had killed the deceased.

In her opening speech prosecutor Caroline Biggs SC explained that he returned to Ireland voluntarily and was interviewed by gardai. He spoke of a history of depression and Borderline Personality Disorder and said that he was on medication.

He said there had been a row and that he thought the deceased was not going to pay the bills.

He said he jumped up, there was a fight, he threw him to the ground and the stabbing began. He said he didn’t recall where the knife had come from, but said he had seen it in the deceased man’s hand at some stage.

He accepted that he intended to give the deceased a good beating when he got up and that he had killed him.

He said that he hadn’t intended to kill him that morning, but had intended to kill him at that moment, she said.

He later said he had ‘lost it and snapped’.

“You must consider what was in the mind of the accused,” said Ms Biggs. “There need not be premeditation and planning… Intention needs to be there for only a matter of seconds.”

She told the jurors that there would be only two verdicts open to them: guilty of murder or not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

“It’s the prosecution case that this is murder,” she said.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of seven men and five women.

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