Letter retracting murders confession read at Nash trial
a jury has been read a letter of retraction written by a man who previously gave gardai a statement admitting to the murder of two women in Grangegorman in 1997.
Mark Nash (42), who has last addresses 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 March 7, 1997.
On Wednesday, a jury of six men and five women heard Nash gave a statement to gardai in Mill Street Garda Station in Galway on August 16, 1997, when he wished to volunteer information in relation to a double murder he "committed in Dublin five months ago".
On Thursday, James McHugh, a former Assstant Commissioner of An Garda Siochana with responsibility for the South East region in August and September 1997, read an undated letter of retraction from Nash, blaming "media reports, teletext and radio" accounts for his knowledge of the 1997 double murder of two women in a house in Grangegorman.
In the letter, read to the court yesterday, Nash said he had nothing to do with the murders in Grangegorman and would like his statement withdrawn, calling them the "bamblings of a very unsteady man" who "would have taken the rap for killing the Pope if he had the knowledge".
On September 1, 1997, Mr McHugh received a four-page written document from solicitor Peter Allen on behalf of Nash.
Mr McHugh read the statement to the court.
"I wish to apologise to gardai in the first instance for wasting police time," it read.
"As you know, on August 16 I made a statement claiming responsibility for the murders in Grangegorman some months ago. I wish to withdraw any and all statements and diagrams relating to Grangegorman."
Reading the statement, Mr McHugh told the court Nash said that when he made his statement to the gardai in Galway, he was "in serious mental anguish" and "in part was prompted by gardai in relation to certain aspects of the murders".
Mr McHugh read from the statement how Nash also recalled overhearing "two gardai openly talking about the killings" in Prussia Street.
"I heard a new television had been left untouched, they even went so far as to discuss the brand and I overheard their conversation clearly," read Mr McHugh.
Continuing to read from the letter, he said: "As with the house itself, three days after the killings, I got a taxi to work and the taxi man drove past where the killing had taken place.
"I recall he slowed down to two or three miles per hour and pointed to where the women were killed and I took a good look at the house, including the entrances and the side path.
"The taxi man gave his opinion as to what happened."
The trial continues on Tuesday morning.