Friday 23 February 2018

Sligo man hit pensioner and tied him up, court hears

The late Eugene Gillespie (67) was attacked in his own home

Eugene Gillespie, who died after being found unconscious
Eugene Gillespie, who died after being found unconscious

A 30-year-old Sligo man accused of murdering a pensioner in his home told gardai he hit him and tied him up.

Simon McGinley of Connaughton Road, Sligo has pleaded not guilty to murder but has admitted the manslaughter of Eugene Gillespie (67) in Co. Sligo on September 22, 2012.

He has pleaded guilty to the false imprisonment of Mr Gillespie and trespass to commit robbery at his home in Old Market Street on September 19, 2012.

The Central Criminal Court heard the manslaughter plea was not accepted by the State and a jury was sworn in for the two-week trial.

Today the jury watched interviews with the accused during his detention at Sligo Garda Station.

The accused told gardai that on the day in question he bought cans and went to “sign on” at the garda barracks at 10pm.

McGinley said he walked towards Old Market Street by himself, that he bought diazepam and was “drinking with the winos” at a car park.

He said walked up to Mr Gillespie’s house, went through the gate and “up around the back”.

“There was a rivet copper tank there. I seen the back door open. I thought there was nobody in the house,” he told gardai.

When gardai asked him if he knew the man he said: “I know him to see. I didn’t know his name. I didn’t mean anything to happen that man.”

“I tried to buy a copper tank off him one time. I was never in his house before.”

When asked how many times he hit him the accused said: “One or two. It could be more. I don’t know.”

“He fell. He was in the kitchen standing. I want to be punished,” he added.

The accused told gardai that Mr Gillespie did not speak to him.

“I tied his hands. I put a blanket or something under his head. I said ‘you’ll be all right. I’ll ring the guards’.”

He also told gardai that there was a dog in the house.

When asked what he tied him up with he replied: “I think it was in the house, I’m not quite sure. I didn’t mean for that man to die.”

He said Mr Gillespie was still awake when he fell on the ground and “it happened so quick”.

The accused said he had white socks on his hands, which he had taken off his feet.

The accused said he got in the gate of the house because “there was a tow bar at the bottom. I hacked it out of the way and pushed it in.”

He said he looked for money downstairs but did not find any so he went upstairs and got €60 in coins but no notes.

“I searched the house, thought I could find a few quid. I got some change. I walked out the front door. The clothes I had on me, I burned them that night.

I left it until the next day to ring the guards.”

McGinley told gardai he went straight home to his caravan and burned his clothes.

The accused told gardai he rang the guards on Thursday.

He said he was on the floor in the kitchen when he left the house.

“When I put the thing under his head he was roaring and shouting so I thought he was 100pc. I said I’d ring the guards in the morning I did.”

The accused also told gardai he owed a man €150 for diazepam.

When asked by gardai who made the 999 call he replied: “Me, I took 25 valium. Where the fucking back of the phone went I don’t know. I’d love to know where I put it to prove that I made the call.”

McGinley said there was no one with him when he made the call.

He said he was in court that day and he thought he would be locked up.

“I thought I was getting locked up so I took diazepam. I was in court.”

The trial continues.

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