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Sunday 4 December 2016

'Shane had a wild look in his eyes'

'He told me he stabbed Mairead because she had been trying to steal his blood'

Mairead Moran
Mairead Moran
Rosemary Grogan, cousin of Shane Smyth, said that he was ‘on another planet’ when he came to her home (Courtpix)

Murder accused Shane Smyth told a cousin he stabbed Mairead Moran because he believed she had put secret cameras in his house, and black widow spiders, which had bitten and paralysed him.

His cousin, Rosemary Grogan, said Mr Smyth had a "wild look in his eyes" when he called to her house after attacking Ms Moran (26), and she described him as being "on another planet".

Mr Smyth fatally stabbed Ms Moran with a dagger after dragging her out of the health food store where she worked at Market Cross Shopping Centre, Kilkenny, on May 8, 2014.

The accused (29), with an address at McGuinness House, Evans Lane, Kilkenny, is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.

"Shane had a wild look in his eyes and he was pulling at his hair," Ms Grogan said as John O'Kelly SC, for the prosecution, led her through her evidence.

"He stopped in the hall and told me he was after going spastic down town," she said. "He told me he was after stabbing someone."

Because he was paranoid schizophrenic she did not know if what he was saying was true "or if it was all in his head".

"He said he had stabbed his ex-girlfriend Mairead," Ms Grogan said, adding that Mr Smyth told her Ms Moran "was after trying to steal a vial of blood from his house".

Paralysed

He also told her Ms Moran had put black widow spiders in his house, he had been bitten and was paralysed for eight hours afterwards.

She said Mr Smyth told her he had gone to the shop because he wanted to "find out why she was doing these things to him".

When she asked him if Ms Moran was okay, he said, "she must be because he could feel her presence".

She rang his brother Neil and asked him to ring the gardai to find out if what Mr Smyth was saying was true.

A leather strap he was wearing and the pouch from the knife were then presented to the court in evidence.

She said she had never known Mr Smyth to be violent.

"He wasn't angry when he was at my house, I would describe him as being on another planet," she said

He also told her he had invented a cure for cancer that had "a lot to do with spider venom" and said he had captured fairies.

Gardai came and arrested Mr Smyth at the house.

Kevin Dollard told the court he met Mr Smyth earlier and he "was talking about microchips in his body and being forced into a gang war".

Mother-of-three Ellen Cruise said she had known the defendant for 17 years and on May 8, 2014, she had tea with him at her house.

He said people were trying to steal "strange things, unusual things" from him and this made her very uncomfortable.

He told her then that his tattoos did things. He took out a bag of crystals and gave her one and she said this was not unusual for people with pagan beliefs.

He then told her he had "demonic tendencies", and this made her feel uncomfortable.

She described him as being "bipolar high".

"When I left Shane I was shaking," she said.

Ken O'Reilly, in charge of management at the flats where Mr Smyth had lived, told the court he was there earlier on May 8, 2014 when Mr Smyth said he had been "bitten by spiders on his face".

That evening, taxi driver James O'Malley saw a man running at full speed to his door at the rank. He brought him to a scouts' den.

"He was agitated and he was trying to conceal his agitation," Mr O'Malley said.

A passer-by, Nicola Brennan, said at 8.45pm, she saw a man get out of a taxi before crossing the road and jumping over the wall at the scouts' building.

Ms Grogan's partner, Christy Fahy, said after Mr Smyth came to the house, Ms Grogan came and told him he had said he "stabbed a girl down town".

He began rambling on about silly things, Mr Fahy said.

"I knew he was crazy when he was talking," he said.

Committed

In his statement, Neil Smyth said that Shane Smyth was his younger brother and that he had been committed eight to nine years ago.

On one occasion he had arrived at the family home and tried to push their mother down the stairs. He used to light fires in his room, and spoke about witches and magic.

The accused had also poured bleach over the downstairs of the house and written a poem about death, which he pinned to a door with a knife.

The defendant thought the family was conspiring to get him committed and cut ties.

"When we tried to reach out to him there would be a backlash," the statement continued.

He had not spoken to the defendant face-to-face for four years, when he arrived at his parents' house "out of his mind" and locked himself into the bathroom.

Neil Smyth stated that on the night of the stabbing, he missed a call from his cousin, who texted: "Neil, it's Rose, can you call me ASAP. Emergency. I have Shane here, he's after going crazy."

He called her back and she told him what the accused said had happened. After speaking to his brother, he called the gardai.

He called his cousin again and heard screaming followed by "a couple of bangs". When he arrived at the house, his brother had been arrested.

Garda statements detailed the arrest, saying the front door of the house was breached.

Mr Smyth was sitting in the kitchen and Garda Jason Lawlor told him to get down on the floor, where he handcuffed him. The gardai were now aware Ms Moran had passed away. Garda Gavin Sheehan arrested Mr Smyth on suspicion of murder at 10.17pm.

Bleeding

His reply was: "I stabbed her, Mairead Moran, she tried to nick my blood."

Consultant surgeon Dr Rick Pretorius stated he was called to the ED at St Luke's Hospital at 9.15pm to find staff in the middle of attempting to resuscitate Ms Moran who was bleeding from a heart laceration.

Efforts were unsuccessful and she was pronounced dead at 9.58pm.

Detective Garda Sergeant Colin Furlong said while Mr Smyth was detained at Kilkenny Garda Station, he requested a blood sample be taken.

A doctor advised that the accused was fit to be interviewed but suggested he should be seen by a psychiatrist.

Garda Paul Coleman told Jane McCudden, BL, for the defence, that while detained Mr Smyth was asked if he had any injuries.

"The reply was nothing that he knows of but not sure and 'microchips in hips'," the garda said.

A toxicology report on his blood sample showed no drugs or alcohol.

The jury also heard Ms Moran told shopping centre security months before she was killed that Shane Smyth had been hanging around and "freaking her out".

Security guards said Ms Moran called them because a man she knew was walking around outside the shop staring at her.

The court heard another woman who worked in a launderette told a security guard that the same man had come into her shop, threatened to stab her, accused her of being a witch and putting a spell on his laundry.

The trial continues.

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