herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Man who admitted to Grangegorman double murder was a 'Walter Mitty'

Dean Lyons
Dean Lyons
Mark Nash

A MURDER trial jury has heard that a garda sergeant had reservations about a man who was first charged with a 1997 double murder in Grangegorman as the man was "a bit of a Walter Mitty".

Dean Lyons, now deceased, was the first person who made an independent admission in July 1997 to the murder of Sylvia Shields (60) and Mary Callanan (61) in their sheltered accommodation at Orchard View in Grangegorman.

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

Yesterday, the court heard how a door key identified as belonging to Ann Mernagh, was located in a garden, just 25 metres from Orchard View in the aftermath of the murders.

Ms Mernagh was the third woman who lived in the sheltered accommodation in Grangegorman, but who was left unharmed on the night of the killings.

Mr Patrick McGrath SC for the defence told the court how Dean Lyons pointed out a hedge at a house on Rathdown Road where he said he threw the key as he left the house at Orchard View on the night.

Mr McGrath then read to the court a statement dated July 26, 1997 where Dean Lyons said: "I then left through the front door, there was a key in the lock with a tag on it, when I left the house I threw it into the bushes."

RETRACTION

The court heard that the follow ing day three gardai took Dean Lyons to the scene in Dublin 7 where he pointed out the bushes.

Under cross examination for the majority of the day from Mr McGrath, Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne told the court: "My understanding is a young girl who is now deceased found a key in her front garden and brought it to the attention of her mother, who returned it to gardai and it was understood to be Ann Mernagh's key."

It was said to the court that in September 1997, the first retraction to the murders by Dean Lyons was made in the form of a letter. Two years later the official retraction of Dean Lyons by the guards was made.

The court also heard reference to a tear in the carpet in one of the bedrooms in Orchard View. On July 26, 1997 Dean Lyons told gardai how he stole £30 from underneath this carpet on the night of March 6, 1997.

The jury of six men and five women heard how a guard by the name of Sgt Dominic Cox had reservations charging Mr Lyons and he said in his statement at the time: "We should be careful of Dean Lyons as he was a bit of a Walter Mitty."

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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