Friday 24 November 2017

Man accused of murdering former rugby player told gardai he arrived at flat in 'an assaulted state'

Gardai at the scene in Terenure, Dublin; Inset: Cathal Sweeney in his rugby days
Gardai at the scene in Terenure, Dublin; Inset: Cathal Sweeney in his rugby days

Alison O'Riordan

The jury in the trial of a man accused of murdering a former captain of a Dublin rugby club in a Terenure flat have heard that the accused initially told gardai that the deceased had arrived there "in an assaulted state" and had "dropped unconscious in the flat."

Gary Walsh (32) with an address at Ravensdale Park, Kimmage, Dublin 15 has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Cathal Sweeney at a house in Terenure on February 8 2014.

Mr Walsh, however, has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Sweeney at the Central Criminal Court yesterday but this plea was not accepted by the State.

This afternoon, prosecution counsel Patrick McCarthy SC called a member of Dolphins Barn Fire Brigade to give evidence from February 8 2014.

Cathal Sweeney - front row to the far left
Cathal Sweeney - front row to the far left

Witness Thomas Doolin told the court that when he asked the two men in the flat what had happened to the patient who was lying on the bedroom floor, he was initially informed by both men that Cathal Sweeney "had arrived to the flat thirty minutes before with the injuries."

"The younger man was quite agitated while the older man was quite passive. The younger man was pacing up and down asking would Mr Sweeney be alright," Mr Doolin told the prosecution counsel.

Another witness called to give evidence was a general nurse from St James's Hospital by the name of Mr Bryan Mullen. Mr Mullen was working in A&E that evening and told the court he had tried to resuscitate the deceased Cathal Sweeney for fifteen minutes.

"It was easy to see the patient had severe head injuries and head trauma which was very visible at the time. There was bleeding coming from wounds on his face," said Mr Mullen.

Gda Stephen Pendred who was attached to Rathmines Garda Station was also called to give evidence and he told Mr McCarthy how Gary Walsh claimed Mr Sweeeney had returned to the flat that evening "in an assaulted state" and had "dropped unconscious in the flat."

The court heard that Gda Pendred got the impression that the accused Gary Walsh who was wearing "blood-soaked tracksuit bottoms" was doing all the talking as the third man present in the flat that evening, Mr Colm Campbell "remained quiet."

“I noticed Gary Walsh's demeanour was becoming increasingly agitated and he had a lot of questions concerning Mr Sweeney," said Gda Pendred.

Another witness to give evidence today was Gda John Walsh who was attached to the Detective Unit of Terenure Garda Station. He told counsel he arrived at Ashdale Gardens that evening after he was informed a "serious assault" had occurred in a Terenure flat.

Gda Walsh told the court how Colm Campbell told him he wanted to speak to somebody about what had actually occurred in the flat.

Repeating to the court what Mr Campbell said to him that evening outside the flat in Terenure, Gda Walsh read from his notebook: "He just kept punching, I couldn't stop him.”

Gda Walsh then told the court he didn’t ask Mr Campbell any questions concerning his statement at the time but just noted it in his notebook.

In cross examination defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC asked Gda Walsh if Mr Campbell was describing to him at the time something he had witnessed which Gda Walsh agreed with.

"There was no suggestion of kicking or stamping?" asked Mr Grehan.

"No. I had no idea what he was talking about," replied the garda.

The final witness of the day called by the prosecution was Det Sgt Joseph Molloy of Terenure Garda Station who told the court he then arrested Mr Walsh for the assault of Mr Sweeney and he later informed Mr Walsh about his passing.

"He was clearly upset," said Det Sgt Molloy.

The trial continues.

Read more here: Trial of man accused of murdering former rugby captain (62) in south Dublin home begins 

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