Wednesday 21 March 2018

Youths charged with German student's murder 'went looking for a fight', court told

Thomas Heinrich
Thomas Heinrich

Natasha Reid

TWO Dublin youths have gone on trial at the Central Criminal Court, charged with murdering one German student and injuring another in the city a year and a half ago.

Thomas Heinrich and Robert Rinker were stabbed on St Anthony’s Road in Rialto on December 1st, 2012. Mr Rinker survived, but 22-year-old Mr Heinrich died.

Wesley Kelly (20) of St Anthony’s Road has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Heinrich and to assault causing harm to Mr Rinker.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age, also denies both charges.

Tara Burns SC, prosecuting, opened the trial to the jury today.

She said that both accused had gone looking for a fight and were being prosecuted on the basis of joint enterprise.

She said that the two Germans had become friendly while studying as part of an Erasmus year in Griffith College, Dublin. They and other students had gone from a club to Mr Heinrich’s apartment on St Anthony’s Road around 4.30 that morning.

Mr Heinrich and another man were smoking on his balcony when the teenaged accused and another youth came along. She said there was a verbal altercation between the two pairs and that a beer can was thrown.

She said that Mr Rinker went out to the balcony after hearing the altercation and decided to go downstairs to speak to the youths. They seemed very young to him and he said something about their age before going back upstairs, she said.

The teenaged accused was annoyed by what he had said and went looking for his co-accused, Wesley Kelly. They returned to the scene and got the attention of the occupants of the apartment. Another verbal altercation took place between the people on the balcony and the two accused.

Ms Burns said that Mr Rinker went downstairs and that there was a physical altercation. Mr Heinrich followed him down, but they returned up when they saw that one of the accused had a knife.

She said that the two German students then went back downstairs with blades. Mr Rinker received stab wounds and went back upstairs. Mr Heinrich arrived up a short time later, bleeding heavily. They were both taken to hospital, where Mr Heinrich died.

Ms Burns said that some, but not all, of the events were captured on CCTV. She said the prosecution couldn’t say who did what, but explained that the accused were prosecuted on the basis of joint enterprise, where each would be liable for the acts that occurred.

“Both went to the apartment looking for a fight,” she said.

She also said that the prosecution maintained that the defences or self defence or excessive self defence were not made out on the facts of the case.

“When you hear the evidence, you will be satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that they are both culpable in relation to the murder and the assault,” she concluded.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Barry White and a jury of three women and nine men and is expected to last two weeks.

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