Friday 20 April 2018

Nash 'an unsteady man' when he admitted murders

Mark Nash denies the murder charges against him
Mark Nash denies the murder charges against him

Alison O'Riordan

A JURY was read a letter of retraction written by a man who previously gave gardaí a statement admitting the murder of two women.

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.

A jury of six men and five women previously heard that Mr Nash gave a statement to gardaí in Mill Street Garda Station in Galway on August 16, 1997, where he wished to volunteer information in relation to a double murder he "committed in Dublin five months ago".

Yesterday James McHugh, former Assistant Commissioner of An Garda Siochana, read an undated letter of retraction from Mr Nash, blaming "media reports, teletext and radio" for his knowledge of the double murder in Grangegorman.

Mr Nash stated he had nothing to do with the murders and would like his statement withdrawn, calling them the "bamblings of a very unsteady man" who "would have taken the rap for killing the pope if he had the knowledge".

On September 1, 1997, Mr McHugh received a four-page written document from Mr Nash's solicitor Peter Allen.

Mr McHugh read the statement, which was written by the accused: "I wish to apologise to gardaí in the first instance for wasting police time. As you know, on August 16 I made a statement claiming responsibility for the murders in Grangegorman some months ago. I wish to withdraw any and all statements and diagrams relating to Grangegorman."

Mr Nash said that when he made his statement in Galway, he was "in serious mental anguish" and "in part was prompted by gardaí in relation to certain aspects of the murders".

"I was in the least shocked that my statement was taken seriously but I understand it has to be taken into account."

In explaining Mr Nash's knowledge of the inside of the house at Orchard View in Grangegorman, Mr McHugh read: "As to the lay out of the house, I viewed many properties which were in the Grangegorman area, some which were end terraced areas, so I drew the layout to go with what I saw in houses elsewhere.

"As with the house itself, three days after the killings, I got a taxi to work and the taxi man drove past where the killing had taken place. I recall he slowed down ... and I took a good look at house including the entrances and the side path to the house. The taxi man gave his opinion as to what happened."

The court also heard how Mr Nash compiled a list of alleged leading questions asked by the gardaí in Galway.

The court was also read a letter sent to Sarah Jane Doyle by the accused following her serious assault in Roscommon on August 16 in 1997.

Mr McHugh read from the letter where Mr Nash confessed his love for Ms Doyle, saying: "I went mad. This is the second time I've gone this way and it led to the same thing before, I'm insane and I don't deserve to live, I'm so sorry to all of you and by the time this reaches you I will be dead."

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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