Tuesday 24 April 2018

Man goes on trial over 2014 murder of Michael O'Dwyer (25)

Tadhg Butler in a photo from 2000
Tadhg Butler in a photo from 2000

Natasha Reid

A 37-year-old Waterford man has gone on trial, charged with murdering another man in the county more than four years ago.

Tadhg Butler of Seafield in Tramore is accused of murdering Kilkenny man Michael O’Dwyer on January 10, 2014 at a location in Co Waterford.

The accused was arraigned before the Central Criminal Court today and pleaded not guilty to murdering the 25-year-old, who died of a single stab wound to his chest.

Denis Vaughan Buckley SC opened the trial for the prosecution, telling the jury that the deceased had died in hospital following a knife assault at Mr Butler’s home.

“There’s no issue but that the knife that penetrated his body was a knife held by the accused,” he said.

He explained that the blade had injured the heart and left lung and that an autopsy had found the wound to be consistent with a single forward thrust into the body.

“There was no evidence of any defensive type injuries on his hands or arms,” he said.

The prosecutor explained that the accused was originally known as Thomas O’Grady but had changed his name by deed poll to Tadhg Butler.

“There’s nothing sinister about that,” he said. “A person is entitled to change their name by deed poll.”

One of Mr Butler’s neighbours called the gardai that night after the incident spilled out into the public courtyard. Tony Walsh, who is also the caretaker of the housing complex, gave evidence of seeing the accused 'scampering’ back into his home as the gardai arrived.

He said that he had looked out a window and seen ‘a few blokes standing around’.

“They were screaming and shouting and there was a door open and then I realised there was a body on the ground,” he recalled. “They were shouting: ‘He’s not responding. He’s not responding’.”

He said the people gathered around were in shock and panicking and that ‘one bloke, in particular, was really upset’.

He phoned 999.

He said that one of the men was going in and out of his house, outside which the incident was happening. He said he knew that man reasonably well.

“I called him Timothy because that’s the name he had told me,” he explained. “I also knew that he had other names.”

Mr Vaughan Buckley asked if this man was giving any assistance.

“No,” he replied.

“He’d come, he’d look. At one stage, he made a gesture; the hands kind of moved forward,” he said, copying the gesture for the jury.

“He just wheeled around and ran in when the guards arrived,” he said.

Under cross examination by Michael Bowman SC, defending, he agreed that the men around the person on the ground were ‘clueless’ and that there was a bit of pushing and shoving between them.

He agreed that he had told the gardai that the accused had ‘scampered’ in the door that night. He also agreed that he was aware that the accused had been in an accident and had a plastic kneecap at the time.

Mr Vaughan Buckley told the jury that the gardai had to force in the front door of Mr Butler’s home that night, but didn’t find him inside. There was no back door but there was a window open, and Mr Butler was arrested nearby shortly afterwards.

The trial continues Tuesday morning before Mr Justice Paul Butler and a jury of five women and seven men. It’s expected to last two weeks.

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