Sunday 18 August 2019

Man accused of murdering pregnant woman told gardai 'I'm the man you're looking for', jury hears

Stephen Cahoon
Stephen Cahoon

Anne Sharkey

A Derry man accused of murdering a pregnant woman told gardai "I'm the man you're looking for" as they brought him to a Donegal garda station, a jury has heard.

Stephen Cahoon (43) with an address at Harvey Street, Derry, Northern Ireland, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Jean Teresa Quigley (30) at Cornshell fields in Derry on July 26th, 2008.

Taking to the stand at the Central Criminal Court today, Detective Sergeant Desmond Sheridan of Ballyshannon Garda Station told Mr Patrick Marrinan, SC prosecuting that on August 5th 2008, he was informed by a colleague that Stephen Cahoon had used an ATM in Donegal town.

Detective Sergeant Sheridan confirmed that he had noticed a man fitting the description of the accused, standing in the diamond among a number of people.

Having requested assistance, he approached the man at 8.50pm.

"I said 'hello Stephen' - he lifted his shoulders and got a bit of a shock. I showed him my garda identification," he said.

When asked for his name and address, the accused had replied 'Paul Moore from White Strand in Galway'.

"I asked him for ID and said I wasn't happy and would he accompany me to the station to verify his name," he said.

"On our way down to the station, he said 'I'm the man you're looking for'. I placed my hand on his shoulder and arrested him - he gave me his proper name then," he concluded.

The court heard that while he was being detained at Ballyshannon Garda Station, Mr Cahoon was examined by a doctor after taking a large amount of Paracetamol tablets and that he then had to be removed to Sligo General Hospital.

Under cross-examination by Mr Michael O'Higgins SC defending, Detective Sheridan confirmed that Stephen Cahoon had been listening to a preacher in the diamond when gardai had approached him.

Taking to the stand, Sergeant Ignatius Larkin told Mr Marrinan that he had been present with Detective Sheridan on August 5th, 2008.

Sergeant Larkin, who had been sitting in the rear of the car with Mr Cahoon, confirmed that the accused had told him he had been sleeping rough in Donegal.

He confirmed that Mr Cahoon had said 'I'm the man you're looking for', and that he was then arrested at 8.55pm.

The court heard that he later stated 'this would kill my mother'.

Sergeant Larkin confirmed that Mr Cahoon had told him he had two ties in his jacket that he would use to try and hang himself.

Taking to the stand, Scene of Crimes Examiner, Garda John Harkin told Mr Marrinan that on August 7th, 2008, he had requested a swab from the accused for the purposes of DNA profiling.

The jury heard that Mr Cahoon had refused permission and that gardai had to then get authorisation to take it against the accused mans consent.

Evidence was then read to the court by Mr Marinan on behalf of one witness, Religious Minister Mr Christopher Thomas Bower, who the court heard is now deceased.

In his statement, Minister Bower had said that on August 5th, 2008, he had been working from a camper van with 12 other members of the order of the Heart of St Patrick, with an aim to promoting faith.

The jury heard that a team member had introduced the Minister to the accused man.

Minister Bower was told that Mr Cahoon had come (to Ballyshannon) because his mother brought him there on holiday when he was younger.

He was told that the accused had taken forty Paracetamol and that he said he was sleeping rough in the town.

The accused had told Minister Bower that he was suicidal and depressed, due to his mothers death three weeks prior to this, with tears in his eyes, the statement said.

The Minister said that Mr Cahoon seemed distressed and genuinely suicidal and that the group had told Mr Cahoon he had to go to hospital because his liver could fail.

In a conversation with one of the team members, Mr Cahoon had said that he had a big regret in his life but he didn't say what it was, the statement said.

The trial continues next Monday before Miss Justice Deirdre Murphy and a jury of eight men and four women.

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