Friday 23 February 2018

Nash told us he stabbed two women in their sleep - garda

On trial: Mark Nash
Pic: Courtpix
On trial: Mark Nash Pic: Courtpix

Alison O'Riordan

A retired garda told the trial of a man accused of murdering two people 18 years ago that he had informed officers he had stabbed "two women in their sleep".

Mark Nash (42), who had last addresses at Prussia Street and Clonliffe Road in Dublin, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the double murder of Sylvia Shields (59) and Mary Callanan (61), who lived in sheltered accommodation, in a house attached to St Brendan's Psychiatric Hospital in Grangegorman between March 6 and March 7, 1997.

Detective Garda Anthony Reidy of Mill Street Garda Station in Galway, now retired, told how he wasn't on duty on Saturday August 16 1997 but he received a call to come into the station and took up duty.

Mr Reidy and Detective Garda O'Donnell began to interview Mr Nash about the serious assault of a Sarah Jane Doyle in Roscommon on August 16 in 1997, and Mr Nash was officially cautioned.

During the course of the interview, Mr Nash received a visit from Dr Ciaran White and afterwards the two guards re-entered and resumed the interview.

Mr Reidy told the court: "Mr Nash said he wanted to talk to us about the Phibsborough incident. He said a few months ago he was on his way home from Dublin city centre to Stoneybatter and broke into a back window of a house and stabbed two women."

A note was made in relation to this particular matter and the memo was shown to the court.

The interview resumed at 9.25pm that evening and Mr Reidy read the passage from the memo to the court which was signed at the time by the accused.

"About three months ago I was walking home and I stabbed two women in their sleep, my mind was disturbed at the time, you have to understand that. I have had this memo read over to me and it is correct," read Mr Reidy.

At 9.50pm the interview was terminated and Mr Nash was brought to hospital to get a slight wound to his head dressed.

The following day Mr Nash was remanded to Mountjoy Prison in Dublin and was escorted.

Mr Reidy told the court that as they neared Dublin city, Mark Nash said he wished to point out the house.

Mr Nash was cautioned but said he still wished to point out the house at Orchard View in Grangegorman.

The court heard from Mr Reidy that Mr Nash had given directions from Infirmary Road in Dublin onwards and pointed out Orchard View as the house where he allegedly committed the two murders.

Hugh Hartnett, SC for the accused, asked Mr Reidy if he was aware that the doctor had advised that the laceration to Mr Nash's head should be sutured.

The garda said he was not aware of that.

Meanwhile, the jury of seven men and five women in the trial, who returned yesterday after two and half weeks of legal argument, has been reduced to six men and five women.

Judge Carroll Moran excused the foreman of the jury after he requested a day off to undergo a Garda aptitude test, with aspirations of joining An Garda Siochana.

The jury elected another foreman and the trial continues.

Irish Independent

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