Sunday 22 April 2018

Mark Nash trial: Jury told of man first charged with double murder but later had charge withdrawn

Mark Nash
Mark Nash

Alison O'Riordan

A jury has heard how a man who was first charged with the double murder of two women, but later had the charge withdrawn, first became a person of interest when he was overheard conversing in a hostel about the murders.

Dean Lyons, now deceased was the first person who made an independent admission to the murder of Sylvia Shields (60) and Mary Callanan (61)between March 6 and March 7, 1997, and he was charged with the double murder of the women in the sheltered accommodation in Grangegorman in July 1997.

Mark Nash (42) who has last addresses at Prussia Street and Clonliffe Road in Dublin, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the murder of Sylvia Shields (60) and Mary Callanan (61) between March 6 and March 7, 1997.

Read more here: Garda had doubts on confession to murders 

Hugh Hartnett SC, for the accused, cross examined James McHugh, former Assistant Commissioner of An Garda Siochana, with responsibility for the South East region in August and September 1997 on Dean Lyons statements.

Mr McHugh told the court how Dean Lyons was allegedly heard conversing with another person in the Salvation Army hostel in Grangegorman "talking about the murders."

"Dean Lyons allegedly told him to keep his mouth closed and that was the main reason why they took him into the Bridewell Station," said Mr McHugh.

read more here: Man who admitted to Grangegorman double murder was a 'Walter Mitty' 

When Gardai met with him, Mr Lyons first words were “I think I know what this is about" said Mr McHugh to the court.

The court heard when Mr Lyons was first asked to account for his movements of March 6 1997, Mr Lyons said he unable to recall as he was taking drugs that day and may have been in hostel.

Mr McHugh told the court, the hostel looked at records and Dean Lyons didn’t stay there that day.

“He was high on drugs so had difficulty providing a location of where he stayed on March 6 1997" said McHugh.

Read more here: Mark Nash confession was 'produced' by gardai, court told 

Later in the interview, Mr Hartnett told the court how Dean Lyons said there was something bothering him and he said he had killed the two ladies in Grangegorman and was very sorry.

"This was a very significant matter” said Mr Hartnett.

Interviewed on July 26 in 1997 by Garda Mullis and Garda O’Connor, Dean Lyons made admissions in relation to his involvement in Grangegorman.

Read more here: Nash 'an unsteady man' when he admitted murders 

The court also heard how Dean Lyons described the location of the window at Orchard View and the manner in which he had entered on the night of March 6 1997.

“He seemed to be hedging his bets. He said he got over a seven foot wall and sort of went round the back where he broke a window and gained entry” said Mr McHugh.

“When he said sort of around the back, he was showing a degree of uncertainty an leaving his options over” added Mr McHugh.

Mr Hartnett referred to Dean Lyons finding a miraculous medal in the cupboard of the downstairs room he had entered by the window.

read more here: Letter retracting murders confession read at Nash trial 

"There were cupboards in the room and Ann Mernagh said she thought Sylvia Shields wore something around her neck that might have been a miraculous medal" said Mr Hartnett.

Reading from a statement given on July 29 in 1997 by Ann Mernagh, who was the third woman who lived in sheltered accommodation in Grangegorman, but who was left unharmed in the third bedroom on the night of March 6 in 1997, Mr Hartnett read:

“I think Sylvia Shields had a miraculous medal, I think it was a silver one, I knew she had something around her neck."

"This is not quite a eureka moment but it is of significance?" asked Mr Hartnett.

“Of some significance but it  was never found of course” said Mr McHugh.

The court also heard that in the course of interviewing Dean Lyons, Det Sgt McNulty and Det Sgt Cox recounted that Dean Lyons had said how the killings had been on his mind and he was waiting to be arrested so he could have some peace.

The trial continues.

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