ONE of two Dublin men accused of the murder of teenager Daniel McAnespie, who was in the care of the State at the time of his death, punched the victim in the face hours before he disappeared, a jury has heard.
Witness Gary Arnold (22) told the Central Criminal Court jury that Daniel McAnespie was punched in the face by accused man Trevor Noone (25) and was knocked to the ground.
Noone and Richard Dekker (27), both of Whitestown Avenue, in Blanchardstown, have each pleaded not guilty to the murder of Daniel McAnespie (17), at Tolka Valley Park, Blanchardstown, on February 26, 2010.
Mr Arnold told the court that on February 25, 2010, he and Daniel were passengers in a car driven by a mutual friend.
He said that he and the deceased were smoking cannabis and taking valium.
He said sometime around midnight he and Daniel got a lift in the car to Whitestown.
Mr Arnold said that he and Daniel met another witness, Shauna Burke, on a green area and were later joined by others, including the accused men Dekker and Noone, who were drinking alcohol.
Asked if there was "any trouble" that night, Mr Arnold said that Daniel got punched to the face by Trevor Noone and was knocked to the ground.
He said that by the time he approached the scene Daniel and Noone were shaking hands.
Mr Arnold also said that as he walked to the scene, Richard Dekker chased him briefly with a cup.
He told prosecution counsel that both he and Daniel were intoxicated at the time.
He said that when he and Shauna Burke left Whitestown sometime between three and four in the morning, he asked Daniel to come with them but the deceased teenager said he wanted to stay. Mr Arnold told Brendan Grehan, prosecuting, that when he left Daniel, he was in the company of Dekker, Noone and another witness, Denise Kelly (19).
In her evidence to the court, Ms Kelly said she also witnessed the argument where Noone hit Daniel.
She told Mr Grehan that Daniel fell to the ground but got back up and shook hands with Noone.
Ms Kelly told the court that sometime after three o'clock on the morning of February 26, she let Daniel in to her house to hide from a garda patrol as the deceased told her he was under curfew.
She said that Daniel was with her and the two accused men at this time.
Ms Kelly said that she and Daniel were then put out of the house by her mother, but she went back inside her house shortly after.
She agreed with counsel for Noone, Michael O'Higgins, that Daniel received a punch because of something he had said about a relative of Noone, and that the deceased had apologised for what he had said.
In his opening address, Mr Grehan said the jury would hear evidence that Daniel was last seen alive on February 26, 2010 at Whitestown Avenue in the company of the two accused.
He told the jury it is the prosecution case that both men were involved in the stabbing of Daniel with one half of a pair of garden shears.
Mr Grehan said that both accused admitted to gardai they were present when Daniel met his death, that each accused effectively say the other killed the teenager and that each told gardai they were "just by-standers".
The trial continues.