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Anything I did was in self-defence, says murder accused

A man who denies murdering a friend during a row over phone calls, told gardai that everything that happened "was done in self-defence" and anything else was "pure lies".

In his evidence to the Central Criminal Court, Detective Garda Denis Smyth, said that the accused man told him that his friend had pulled a knife on him first: "If Alan hadn't produced the knife, none of this would have happened," he said.

Martin Toland (34), of Walkinstown Park, has denied murdering Alan Nolan (28), and to recklessly or intentionally causing serious harm to James Carroll (30).

Heart

He described his friends to gardai as "madmen" and said they had come running at him, after the three had spent the night drinking and playing poker at the deceased's apartment in Cedarbrook Walk, Ballyfermot.

The incident is alleged to have happened in the early hours of Saturday, September 8, 2007, after a dispute broke out, during which Mr Nolan was fatally stabbed through the heart, and Mr Carroll sustained stab wounds to the heart and stomach.

Det Smyth told the court on day seven of the trial yesterday, that the accused said to him it was "obvious" that the two men had tried to attack him and that everything he had done was "in defence of his life".

"Whatever I did, I did to defend myself," Toland told gardai in the hours following the incident.

The accused described how a row had broken out downstairs over a series of phone calls Mr Nolan had been receiving that night, and that he blamed Toland's sister for making.

The court has been shown mobile phone records which did not show any calls from a phone registered to Ms Toland to Mr Nolan that night.

The accused said the two men went upstairs to sort things out, but Mr Nolan produced a knife and came towards him, but he stumbled on the duvet cover and there was a struggle during which the accused got hold of the knife.

He said his friend "turned" on him because he had taken too many drugs.

Then, Toland said, Mr Carroll appeared on the scene, and the two men advanced towards him, while he held the knife in front of him "jabbing" it at the two men and telling them to "get back".

He said all three fell down the stairs together in a struggle, and that it was possible the stab wounds had been inflicted then, as he didn't remember stabbing anyone, nor did he remember "some kind of crazy attack".

When gardai put it to him that he had lost his temper and attacked his two friends, Toland replied: "Why do you believe that? I did not attack my two friends ... Alan produced the knife, he attacked me ... it was his knife in his house."

Det Smyth told the jury that when he said to the accused the force used may have been "excessive", Toland replied "But what about the force of the madmen coming running at you, combined with the attempt of me trying to fight them off?"

Tracksuit

When Det Smyth asked him to explain how one man was dead and another had received serious injuries while he didn't have any marks, the accused said he had a bit of a tooth missing, and a dig here and there.

The court was also shown the deceased's blood-soaked T-shirt for a second time.

Forensic expert, Marcy Lee-Gorman, showed the jury that there were eight "stab cuts" on the top, and another cut around the waistband of Mr Nolan's tracksuit bottoms.

Mr Nolan sustained five stab wounds, including the fatal one that penetrated his heart.

DNA analyst, Dr Edward Connolly, confirmed that all of the blood on Mr Nolan's clothing was his own, while a contact bloodstain on the accused's T-shirt was also Mr Nolan's.

The trial resumes on Monday.

hnews@herald.ie