Tuesday 20 August 2019

Man accused of murdering neighbour told gardai he 'nearly snapped his back' moving body, court told

The Central Criminal Court
The Central Criminal Court

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A man accused of murdering a neighbour whose body was found in a wardrobe days after his death told gardai he nearly “snapped” his back moving the deceased, a court has heard.

After presenting himself at a garda station, Anthony Locke (38) told gardai in interview that his brother had stabbed the man and then made him clean up after the killing.

Sergeant Denis Ellard today told the court that Mr Locke described how the body had felt a “tonne weight” when moving it, saying: “I nearly snapped my back”.

Mr Locke, of Ramillies Road in Ballyfermot, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the murder of Christopher Jackson (53) at his apartment on Prussia Street, between September 6th and 7th, 2012.

Sgt Ellard told Mr Conor Devally SC, prosecuting, that Mr Locke presented at his local garda station on September 9th, 2012 and was subsequently arrested and interviewed.

He said Mr Locke told gardai he'd heard screaming from the deceased's flat the previous Thursday and had run downstairs where his brother, Bernard, informed him he had stabbed Mr Jackson.

Mr Locke said his brother, whom he described as a three times All Ireland kickboxing champion, then told him to clean up, hit him “ a box” and threatened to “kill me stone dead”.

The accused said he used two duvets and four or five plastic bags to wrap the body.

“I was crying doing it. He (the deceased) was a sound fella”, Mr Locke said in interview.

He said when he commented about the heaviness of the body, his brother told him that a person's weight doubles at death.

He told gardai there had been blood everywhere in the kitchen and that one of his fingers was cut by his brother, who stood holding the black handled knife and a fork as he watched the cleaning.

Sgt Ellard said Mr Locke told him his brother threatened to chop off all his fingers.

The accused denied using a weapon on Mr Jackson or having an active part in the killing, but described how the deceased's last words had been “Babs help”, before his brother had stabbed him.

Sgt Ellard said Mr Locke told him that he had been forced to wrap the body after the killing.

“I can still see his (Mr Jackson's) eyes looking at me. It's wrecking my head”, Mr Locke said in interview.

He said his brother threatened to “put me in with the body” if he didn't help move the deceased man to the Dublin Mountains.

When asked why he didn't alert gardai, the accused repeated: “My head was all over the place”.

Sgt Ellard said Mr Locke also told him that his brother had gone to the downstairs flat up to five times when Mr Jackson had been out.

The accused said that the deceased man's partner, Barbara Staunton, had described Bernard Locke as a “fine thing”.

Garda Kevin Moran told Mr Devally that Mr Locke said in another interview that his brother beat him and gave him tablets to calm him after the killing.

He said the accused told gardai he went for a walk in the Phoenix Park after leaving Prussia Street.

He then went to a friend's house before going to the garda station.

The trial continues with the accused's garda interviews before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of six men and six women.

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