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'Azzam started whole thing, and I panicked', accused boy told gardai

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Azzam Raguragui was stabbed to death in a Dundrum park

Azzam Raguragui was stabbed to death in a Dundrum park

Azzam Raguragui was stabbed to death in a Dundrum park

A teenager on trial charged with murder told gardaí that he was panicking and trying to break up a fight when he stabbed the 18-year-old deceased during a melee in a Dublin park, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

The 17-year-old accused, who cannot be identified because he is a minor, said in a voluntary statement at a garda station that the deceased, Azzam Raguragui, "started the whole thing".

He told gardaí that he didn't know why he brought a knife with him and said he never intended to use it.

He said the deceased ran at him and he took the first thing he could find in his pocket to "scare him [Azzam] off".

"I didn't intend to kill him at all," he added.

The accused pleaded guilty to manslaughter but not guilty to the murder of Mr Raguragui on May 10, 2019 at Finsbury Park, Dundrum, Dublin 14.

Detective Sergeant John White told the prosecution that the accused gave a voluntary statement one day after Mr Raguragui's death.

He agreed the accused told gardaí that he doesn't smoke, drink or do drugs.

He detailed his movements on the afternoon of the stabbing, saying he met up with friends and went to Finsbury Park in Dundrum.

When they arrived, he said, they could see a large group of "lads" at the other end of the park.

He recognised some of them and said hello.

"All was fine and friendly," he said, but Mr Raguragui said there was a problem with another of the accused's friends.

When that friend arrived, the accused told gardaí, Mr Raguragui spoke with him and they walked together away from the group, but then two of Mr Raguragui's friends walked up behind and hit the accused's friend.

He said three of them "jumped on him and started punching and kicking him and he fell to the ground".

"We ran to break it up but they then started on us. They were a lot bigger and stronger than us," he added.

He said he was frightened and tried to pull members of the other group off his friends but "it was pointless because of their size".

After Mr Raguragui ran at him, the accused said he grabbed "the first thing in my jacket to smack him with, which was a knife that was in my jacket from earlier in the day".

He said he had no intention of using the knife but he hit Mr Raguragui with it. He hit him two or three times, he told gardaí.

Following the stabbing he remembered Mr Raguragui running away while the accused ran after him "to keep him running away as he was the ringleader".

He further recalled Mr Raguragui shouting at him: "Remember my face, remember my face."

The accused then ran away and said that as he looked back he could see blood on Mr Raguragui's hands. He was frightened, he said, and threw the knife away.

Scare

He further told gardaí that he "was only trying to break the fight up as [his friend] was getting beaten up. We were all a lot smaller. I panicked thinking I would be next on the ground getting beaten up".

He said he wanted to scare Mr Raguragui off.

"Azzam started the whole thing and then went for me. I just panicked," he said.

He told gardaí he had never used a knife before on anyone.

"I didn't mean to hurt anyone. I was afraid they would really hurt us," he added.

He said he was sorry it had happened and sorry for Mr Raguragui's family. He later led gardaí to where he had thrown the knife.

Earlier, the jury watched CCTV footage of the movements of the two groups of teens before and after the fight.

Det-Gda Steven Dunican said he had condensed 100 hours of footage into a montage.

The trial continues.