Saturday 24 March 2018

Man accused of murdering former partner told gardaí that knives found at different locations did not come from the same set, court hears

Vezel Jahiri
Vezel Jahiri

A man accused of murdering his former partner told gardaí that a number of knives found at different locations did not come from the same set.

Vesel Jahiri, of Louth Village, Dundalk but originally from Kosovo, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Anna Finnegan at Allendale Glen, Clonsilla, Dublin 15 on September 21 2012.

Mr Jahiri has also pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm on Anna Finnegan's brother, Karl, on the same date.

The Central Criminal Court has heard how Ms Finnegan and Mr Jahiri had been in a ten year relationship that had “deteriorated dramatically”. They had two young children together and “access had become more than a thorny subject”.

Karl Finnegan has given evidence that having put the children to bed upstairs, Anna and he were having tea in her kitchen when Mr Jahiri allegedly burst through the door and came bounding down the hallway with a knife in his hand.

An altercation took place, the court heard, in which Mr Finnegan was stabbed in the chest and head while Anna Finnegan fled in distress, screaming. She ran outside to get help from a neighbour but collapsed on the roadside shortly afterwards.

Mr Jahiri claims Karl Finnegan produced the knives and Anna was fatally injured while trying to stop her brother from stabbing him.

Today the jury heard transcripts from interviews conducted between gardaí and the accused on Sunday, September 23 2012.

Mr Jahiri told gardai that he had been living in Ireland for the previous thirteen years. He told them he was 'in the war' in Kosovo for a year and a half, had seen people die, which had upset him, but he wasn't a soldier or anything like that.

During one interview, the court heard, Mr Jahiri was shown three knives found by gardaí at his Lohunda Crescent address shortly after the night in question.

Each black handled knife was branded 'pro blade forged steel,' the court heard, but Mr Jahiri did not accept that these were similar to the knife exhibited in the trial as the knife which fatally wounded Anna Finnegan.

When detectives put it to him that each of the knives came from the same set, Mr Jahiri said 'no, 100pc no,' the court heard.

At the end of the interview, Mr Jahiri was asked, 'Now Vesel, with all this evidence against you why are you still telling lies.'

'What evidence,' Mr Jahiri responded, 'I don't know them knives (sic) you need to ask the people in the house.'

Under cross examination from defence counsel, Brendan Grehan SC, Detective Garda Bernard Connaughton confirmed that at all times during interviews, Mr Jahiri denied stabbing Anna Finnegan and indicated that about '30pc of the case was not true'.

Det Gda Connaughton agreed that he repeatedly called Mr Jahiri a liar during interviews.

But he denied Mr Grehan's assertion that gardaí were never prepared to accept the possibility that Mr Jahiri did not stab Anna.

Detective Garda Brendan O'Hora agreed with Mr Grehan that one eye witnesses' statement was radically different to Karl Finnegan's account of what happened outside the house.

This witness claimed to have seen Mr Jahiri punch Karl three times in the stomach before jumping on Anna and putting his arm around her neck. It was put to Mr Jahiri during interviews that either he was lying or this witness was, the detective confirmed.

When asked if this witnesses account had ever been brought to Karl Finnegan's attention, the detective garda's response was “not to my knowledge”.

Earlier, a second juror was excused from service by Mr Justice Paul McDermott because the estimated time of the trial had overrun.

The judge said he had dealt with a number of legal issues which caused the trial to be adjourned for one week and added that he had discretion to proceed with a jury of ten members.

The case continues tomorrow before Mr Justice McDermott and a jury of six men and four women.

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