A WICKLOW man on trial for murdering a shopkeeper who confronted him after he had robbed €50 admitted to gardai he stabbed the 44-year-old because he was blocking his way out of the shop.
Anthony Farrell denies murdering John Deasy at Brauder's shop on Coolgreany Road, in Arklow, in November 2009. The 20-year-old, of Marian Villas, in Arklow, has pleaded guilty to robbing the newsagent.
He was arrested two days after Mr Deasy died in the doorway of the shop. Farrell had stabbed him once in the chest during their struggle, the knife almost completely severed his aorta.
Farrell told gardai he had been desperate to get out of the shop because he thought gardai were on the way, but Mr Deasy was blocking the door and kicking him back inside, so he ran towards him with the knife raised.
"I wasn't even sure if I did hit him with it or not... he moved out of the way and I just kept going," he said.
In his initial interviews with gardai, however, Farrell said he'd spent the evening of November 25, 2009, driving around Arklow with friends.
He repeatedly denied he had been in the newsagents. Farrell said a neighbour told him about the stabbing the following day, and he had "sympathy for Mr Deasy's family".
It was not until his third interview, that Farrell admitted a friend had dropped him off at Brauder's before 8pm on the evening of the killing and he had gone in to rob the shop.
He said he was wearing gloves and a balaclava and had one of his mother's knives in his right hand. "As I was taking the money, I heard the door of the shop open. It was John Deasy. He had a knife in his left hand, I panicked and went to go out."
Farrell said he wanted to scare Mr Deasy off, so he "ran towards him with the knife in the air". He kept the weapon at shoulder height he said, but the shopkeeper kicked him back inside. Farrell said he was kicked back inside three or four times when he kept attempting to get out.
"Two or three times I made the motion towards him with the knife, to scare him, to see if he would move out of my way. The second time I hit him... I hit him with force, I did hit him with force."
He said the shopkeeper fell out of the doorway, and he ran off. Farrell told gardai he was sorry for what had happened. "The only way to get out was to force him away," he said.
When gardai put to him that another witness had seen the two struggling in the middle of the road outside the shop, Farrell replied "no, he was holding on to the door and he wouldn't let me out. When I did obviously stab him, he fell out of the door and I followed through."
A prosecution witness, Charlie Mason, who described himself as a friend of Farrell, told the trial Farrell called to him two days after the killing and said "It was me that did the shop, it was an accident. I didn't mean to stab him I just panicked."
He then asked Mr Mason if he should "get the f*** out of here." Farrell was arrested later that afternoon on Abbey Street in the town. The trial continues.