Saturday 14 December 2019

'I just lost the head and stabbed my pal', accused told gardai

Victim Mark Richardson. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Victim Mark Richardson. Photo: Steve Humphreys

A man accused of murdering his "lifelong friend" by stabbing him in the chest told gardai that he "lost the head" and just "flipped", the Central Criminal Court has heard.

The trial yesterday heard evidence of interviews conducted by gardai with Paul Keating.

Mr Keating (51), of Harmonstown Road, Artane, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Mark Richardson on March 16, 2017.

Mr Richardson (47) died from a single stab wound to his chest at his home which was also on Harmonstown Road.

Evidence has been given that his main pulmonary artery was severed, causing very heavy bleeding.

Garret Baker BL, prosecuting, told the jury that Mr Keating was interviewed by gardai on two occasions in Clontarf Garda Station on March 17.

Mr Baker read the two memos of interview to the court.

Mr Keating told gardai he had been drinking with the father-of-six since March 15 and they had started arguing.

"Before I knew it, he had me up by my neck. I picked up the knife, I just lost it and before I knew it he was on the ground," he said.

The accused said he did not know why he stabbed his friend as it was the last thing on his mind to injure or hurt him.

Mr Keating said he thought he got a knife from the counter top in the kitchen and had stabbed Mr Richardson in the shoulder once.


"It all just happened so quickly, it was pure drink. I was taking tablets as well which he was giving me," Mr Keating said.

The accused agreed with gardai that he had "lost the head" and just "flipped".

When witness statements were read to him, Mr Keating replied: "I can't believe that actually happened. I just can't."

He did not mean to kill his friend, he said. It made him feel sick and he will never know why the incident happened.

Mr Keating told gardai that he would drink alcohol every day and take drugs three or four times a week.

Earlier, the court heard from forensic scientist Sarah Fleming, who testified that bloodstaining taken from the knife's blade matched Mr Richardson's DNA profile.

Ms Fleming said that the probability of Mr Richardson's DNA matching someone else was considerably less than one in a thousand million.

A "low-level mixed DNA profile" was obtained from the knife's handle and it was unsuitable for examination.

DNA profiles obtained from bloodstaining present on Mr Keating's top and jeans also matched the deceased's DNA profile. The chance of this profile coming from someone unrelated to Mr Richardson, she said, was less than one in a thousand million.

The prosecution has now closed its case and Mr Justice Robert Eagar asked the jury of six men and six women to return today when they will hear closing statements.

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