herald

Friday 20 April 2018

Dying Carroll's final words: 'Who was it?'

trial: Accused was drinking in pub with murder victim

A father-of-two on trial for murder denied that the victim had previously asked him to kill one of his co-accused.

Bernard Hempenstall (28) from Park Terrace, The Coombe in Dublin is one of four men charged with murdering a father-of-three in a Dublin pub.

John Carroll (33) was shot dead while socialising in Grumpy Jack's pub in the Coombe just after 9.30pm on February 18, 2009.

Hempenstall, along with Peter Kenny (28) of McCarthy's Terrace, Rialto; Christopher Zambra (35) of Galtymore Road, Drimnagh; and Damien Johnston (27) of Cashel Avenue, Crumlin have all pleaded not guilty to his murder.

The Central Criminal Court heard that Hempenstall was arrested at Dublin Port two days after the murder.

He told gardai that he, Joey O'Brien and another friend had decided against travelling. "We were going to the Liverpool match but we didn't bother," he told gardai. "We changed our minds ... on the spur of the moment."

The court has already heard from Mr O'Brien, the chief prosecution witness in the trial. He admitted his involvement in the murder but was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying against Hempenstall and the others.

Detective Garda Leo Clayton gave evidence of an interview that he and Detective Garda Jim Madden conducted with an unemployed Hempenstall two nights after his arrest.

"We believe Christopher Zambra asked you to assist him in the murder of John Carroll," they said.

"No," replied Hempenstall.

"And that John Carroll previously asked you to murder Christopher Zambra," they continued. "No," he repeated.

Hempenstall denied knowing Zambra or any of the other defendants. He said he knew John Carroll for years from training in the gym and was drinking with him when he was shot. Asked if he knew Mr O'Brien, he replied: "I thought I did," and described what Mr O'Brien had told gardai as "a load of lies".

He had told gardai that on the night of the killing, he was sitting with the deceased and two other men when the gunman came in. "The first thing I remember was hearing a squeak as the door opened," he told them in a witness statement that night. "I saw a man with a black handgun."

The jury has already seen footage of a man in motorcycle gear and helmet come into the pub and shoot Mr Carroll a number of times.

Hempenstall said he heard four or five shots.

"I saw John Carroll lying on the ground beside the bar. He was trying to get up," he said. "I saw blood squirting from his right shoulder ... John kept asking us: 'Who was it?'"

The trial continues before a jury of eight men and four women.

hnews@herald.ie

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