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Saturday 10 December 2016

State tells Nash jury of 'amazing coincidences'

murder trial

The prosecution counsel in the trial of a man accused of murdering two women 18 years ago has told a murder trial jury that if the accused is not guilty, there are a series of "truly amazing coincidences".

Mark Nash (42), who has last addresses at Prussia Street and Clonliffe Road in Dublin, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the murder of Sylvia Shields (60) and Mary Callanan (61) between March 6 and March 7, 1997.

The two women were living in sheltered accommodation in a house attached to St Brendan's Psychiatric Hospital in Grangegorman at the time.

Counsel for the State, Mr Brendan Grehan SC yesterday told the jury of six men and five women in his closing speech that Mark Nash lived close to where the Grangegorman murders took place and how the accused was arrested in respect of a totally unrelated matter in August 1997 where he made "volunteered admissions" to committing the killings at Grangegorman.

"He had also alluded to it in correspondence with his girlfriend, Sarah Jane Doyle, before his arrest in Tuam and before he met with the guards," added Mr Grehan.

"Before he said it to any garda in Mill Street station, he had said it along the lines to his solicitor. Not only did he follow up with a full statement in custody and while he was in prison in Mountjoy,

contact Mark Nash told the prison chaplain, he wanted him to contact the authorities to tell them he wanted to contact the guards re the Grangegorman murders," Mr Grehan put to the jury.

The jury previously heard that a jacket belonging to the accused and heavily blood-stained clothing and bedding found at the scene were examined in the same room at the laboratory six weeks apart.

During the course of the trial the court also heard that a profile taken from the button threads of the right sleeve of the black velvet jacket belonging to Mark Nash matched Sylvia Shields DNA profile and a DNA profile obtained from a "particle" found inside the seam of the right sleeve of the black velvet jacket, also matched the deceased Mary Callanan.

Mr Grehan said if Mark Nash is not guilty, "there are a series of truly amazing coincidences".

The court heard there was initially no clear suspect in the case despite the efforts of the gardai and no clear DNA was ever recovered from scene.

Mr Grehan said that the only significant item recovered by Supt Eugene Gilligan was a footprint in lino from the front room of Orchard View in Grangegorman and that footprint was in blood.

"In the aftermath of the terrible murders, one of the sole pieces of evidence which could link Mark Nash to the scene was the footprint of a caterpillar boot and Mark Nash owns a pair of caterpillar boots," said Mr Grehan.

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