| 10.1°C Dublin

Knife killer taunted victim's girlfriend in court's canteen

Knife killer Martin Toland taunted his victim's girlfriend during a break in the trial as she had lunch in the canteen of the new Criminal Courts of Justice, the Herald has learned.

Toland (34), who was jailed for life last week for murdering Alan Nolan, made an approach to the woman and sang "six in the morning, six in the morning" -- referring to the time of the killing.

He had walked up behind Mr Nolan's girlfriend and tapped her on the shoulder before making the sickening jibe.

Warnings

Toland taunted the woman as she had lunch in the canteen at the Criminal Courts of Justice.

The incident was reported to the gardai and is being investigated, it is understood.

The revelation has prompted Fine Gael to call for judges to give formal warnings to defendants to stay away from victims and prosecution witnesses at the start of criminal trials.

The party's Justice spokesman Charlie Flanagan TD said it was "unacceptable" that a murderer was able to intimidate his victim's partner during a break at a trial.

Deputy Flanagan said the incident was "very disturbing and unacceptable".

"At all times, an accused in a serious criminal action should be kept separate and apart from witnesses and victims and their family members. Anything less is unacceptable.

"I would like to see at the commencement of trials judges giving a formal warning to the accused to have no contact of this kind.

"It must be made absolutely clear that any form of threat or intimidation will not be tolerated.

"It is a matter for the gardai to protect victims and witnesses from unsavoury or illegal behaviour and sanctions in the form of separate criminal charges can be brought against them if a complaint is made."

Toland had denied murdering Mr Nolan at his apartment in Cedarbrook Walk, Ballyfermot in the early hours of September 8, 2007 and said that he was acting in self-defence.

Mr Nolan received five stab wounds, including the fatal wound that penetrated his heart to a depth of 5cm, and another wound that went clean through his shoulder.

As well as the murder, Toland was found guilty on a second count of recklessly or intentionally causing serious harm to James Carroll (30), by stabbing him in the heart and stomach in the same incident.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy adjourned sentencing for the second charge until March 22.

A garda spokesperson declined to comment on the alleged courtroom threat.

aphelan@herald.ie


Privacy