Saturday 24 August 2019

Murder accused was on 'mad cleaning buzz', friend of victim found in wardrobe tells jury

Scales (stock)
Scales (stock)

Aoife Nic Ardghail

The Deputy State Pathologist has told a jury that the man whose body was found in a wardrobe days after his killing had died from multiple stab wounds.

Dr Michael Curtis said he found 70 stab wounds on the deceased's body during post mortem examination.

He told Mr Conor Devally SC, prosecuting, that the deceased man's genitals were “intact” and that his injuries suggested that more than one weapon had been used.

Anthony Locke (38), with an address at 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 6 and 7, 2012.

Dr Curtis told Mr Devally that one large stab wound on Mr Jackson's chest had cut an artery and punctured his right lung.

He said five stab wounds on the back had penetrated through to the chest and that the multiple stabs to the left arm could be regarded as “defensive type injuries”.

Dr Curtis agreed with Mr Padraig Dwyer SC, defending, that the knives shown to him in court were not serrated and that there was no evidence to suggest such a blade had been used.

He further agreed that the large chest wound could have caused Mr Jackson's death, which could probably have occurred in minutes.

A neighbour, Deirdre Holton, said she saw the accused moving kitchen furniture from the deceased man's flat into the yard about 9am on September 7, 2012.

She said Mr Locke told her he'd been up all night and was just doing a favour for the Mr Jackson's partner, Barbara Staunton.

"He said he was on a mad cleaning buzz", Ms Holton told the jury.

Ms Holton told Mr Devally that Ms Staunton was "quiet, not her usual chatty self" at a drinks gathering in the back yard that evening.

The witness said Ms Staunton's behaviour was “very, very strange” and that she didn't “resist” the affections of the accused's brother, Bernard Locke.

Ms Holton, who was friends with the deceased and Ms Staunton, described how Bernard Locke had been taunting the accused and their cousin, who was a previous witness.

She described Anthony Locke and their cousin, Avril McMahon, as “very subdued” while Bernard Locke taunted them.

She said Bernard Locke was also “overpowering” with Ms Staunton.

She agreed with Mr Dwyer that Ms Staunton had told her that her partner had packed his bags and gone.

She further agreed she considered the accused a “nice guy”, but found Bernard Locke aggressive to him and to her because of their sexualities.

Detective Sergeant Kevin Daly told Mr Devally that a taxi driver alerted gardai after receiving calls and texts from Bernard Locke about transferring a body.

The detective sergeant said he and colleagues initially went to the accused's flat with a warrant but then got the landlord's permission to search Ms Staunton and Mr Jackson's premises.

He described seeing a package that was shaped like a body in the wardrobe and preserved the flat as a crime scene.

He told Mr Devally that he arrested Bernard Locke when he saw him walking on the opposite side of the road later on and looking interested in what gardai were doing.

Det Sgt Daly agreed with Mr Dwyer that nothing about Ms Staunton's interaction with him before the body was discovered had caused him concern.

He said she didn't seem frightened or distressed and had given him permission to look in the back yard when he and colleagues arrived at the flats the first occasion.

The trial continues on Tuesday before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of six men and six women.

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