Mark Nash confession was 'produced' by gardai, court told
A JURY has heard that a man charged with a 1997 double murder said a confession made by him in relation to the killings was "produced" by gardai.
Mark Nash (42), whose last addresses were at Prussia Street and Clonliffe Road, 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 7, 1997.
In December 1999, now Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne took part in an interview with Nash at Bridewell Garda Station concerning his confession to gardai in Galway on August 16, 1997 to the murder of two women in Grangegorman.
The court heard how Nash described his confession at that time to Mr Byrne as "a note" made in Mill Street Garda Station "produced by gardai in Mill Street rather than by myself".
The jury of six men and five women also heard how Nash said to Mr Byrne in December 1999 that "no matter how nice you guards are, I don't trust the gardai. When you sit through that type of thing, it's better to keep your mouth shut as words are twisted".
Counsel Brendan Grehan, for the State, told the court that on September 14, 1998, Mr Byrne was handed an evidence bag containing a "black velvet pin-stripped jacket" by Det Supt Martin Donnellan.
Mr Byrne also took possession of black Caterpillar boots following a search of Nash's home which he had in his control until May 19, 2005.
These items were then handed to now retired Det Sgt Alan Bailey. Patrick McGrath, for the defence, told the court that in 1997 two people had confessed to the murder of two women in Grangegorman.
Dean Lyons, now dead, was the first person who made an independent admission. The second was Nash, and there was no connection between either party.
The court heard that in July 1997, Lyons was charged with the murder of Mary Callanan in sheltered accommodation in Grangegorman.
Then on August 16 and 17, Nash made an independent admission to the murder of the two women in Grangegorman.
This "was probably unprecedented in the history of the State", said Mr McGrath.
"I had not experienced this previously and there was concern to get to the bottom of how these independent admissions could be made and to get to the truth" Mr Byrne told the court.
Three senior gardai were appointed to investigate - James McHugh, former Assistant Commissioner with responsibility for the South East region in August and September 1997; Det Supt Martin Donnellan; and Mr Byrne.
The court heard that it was not until 1999 that Lyons made a retraction of his admissions through a solicitor.
The investigation was set up "to establish the veracity of the truth and to establish who the correct person was effectively" Mr Byrne said yesterday.
Dean Lyons died in the UK in 2000. The trial continues.