Monday 22 January 2018

Murder trial hears accused told man: 'I wasn’t meant to kill him, I only meant to put him in hospital'

Kenneth Cummins
Kenneth Cummins
Sabrina Cummins

Alison O'Riordan

A Dublin man on trial accused of murder phoned a friend from prison and told him that he strangled, smothered and beat a 63-year-old man to death, a jury has heard.

Kenneth Cummins (28) and Sabrina Cummins (37), with an address at Ringsend Park, Dublin 4, have both pleaded not guilty to murdering Thomas Horan (63) at Cambridge Court, Ringsend on January 6th last year.

Prosecution counsel Mr Remy Farrell SC today called Detective Sergeant Barry Walsh, who is attached to Irishtown Garda Station and is an investigating officer in this case, to give evidence.

Counsel told the jury that Mr Kenneth Cummins was charged with the offence of murder on January 10 2014 and was remanded to Cloverhill prison.

The barrister told the court that each prisoner is allowed to make one personal call each day which can last up to six minutes as well as a call to a solicitor.

Det Sgt Walsh agreed with Mr Farrell that each prisoner is given a card and a unique pin number to make calls but they are not entitled to call anyone, they have to provide the prison with the name of the person they want to make the call to in advance.

"Depending on what privileged level one has, one can ring a number of people. They must provide the person and their number and their relationship to them, " said Det Gda Walsh.

The barrister told the jury that the system "knows" not to record calls to a solicitor or The Samaritans.

"But if a person is making a call to someone else that is automatically recorded and the prisoner is informed of that from the outset," said Mr Farrell.

The court heard that on January 22 2014 Mr Pat Murphy, a prison officer at Cloverhill was told to remove one of the telephone numbers from Kenneth Cummins list of contacts.

"Prison officer Murphy listened to a call which seemed to be a form of complaint. Officer Murphy realised it featured Mr Cummins discussing events in Thomas Horan's flat and brought it to the attention of gardai," said Mr Farrell.

Gardai made a formal request which brought a search warrant application to obtain this call and today counsel for the State read a transcript of the call to the jury.

The court heard the recipient was known as Carl Cullen and also known as Carl Kennedy.

"You landed yourself in hot water this time. The fella you killed how did your man die?" asked Mr Cullen.

"I beat him to death, yeah strangled him and smothered him and everything," replied Mr Cummins.

"Your fucked so," replied Mr Cullen.

The court heard Mr Cummins then told his friend: "You know Breda my sister who was murdered, he fostered Breda when she was a kid and raped her. She never opened her mouth, was too afraid to tell anyone. My sister (Sabrina) brought me to his, he admitted it and all, I lost the head and went mad and I killed him. I wasn’t meant to kill him, I only meant to put him in hospital."

The court heard Mr Cullen then asked Mr Cummins if it was true he had forced him to drink white spirits as he had read it in The Sunday World newspaper.

"Yeah my sister did yeah," replied the accused.

When asked by Mr Cullen if there was any chance of him getting manslaughter, Mr Cummins replied: "It doesn’t look like it no."

"They said to me I could be 36 when I get out and I'm only 26 now. Waste of a life man," said Mr Cummins.

Mr Cullen then asked Mr Cummins if his sister had much to do with it?

"No" said Mr Cummins.

"You should try and take blame for it and try to get your sister off," said Mr Cullen.

Prosecution counsel Mr Farrell then told Mr Justice Tony Hunt this was the relevant evidence for Kenneth Cummins concluded with.

The trial continues.

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