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Thursday 21 June 2018

Murder accused claims - 'I acted in self-defence'

Accused man Blake Sweeney. Photo: Frank McGrath/Irish Independent
Accused man Blake Sweeney. Photo: Frank McGrath/Irish Independent
Father-of-one Robert Elston

A 20-year-old man charged with the murder of a father-of-one in Co Kerry has claimed he acted in self-defence.

Blake Sweeney, of Fertha Drive, Cahersiveen, Co Kerry, appeared before Tralee District Court yesterday afternoon in connection with the fatal stabbing of Robert Elston (33) on Wednesday morning.

The victim received serious stab wounds and was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Kerry.

Mr Elston was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Mr Sweeney was arrested a short time later and was detained at Killarney Garda Station under the provisions of Section Four of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.

Understood

He was rearrested at 2.17pm yesterday and later charged with murder contrary to common law.

Mr Sweeney, who was represented in court by solicitor Padraig O'Connell, appeared before Judge David Waters.

The accused, who is unemployed and on disability allowance, stayed silent during the proceedings.

At Killarney Garda Station, arresting officer Detective Sergeant John Kelly had asked Mr Sweeney if he understood the charges against him.

According to Det Sgt Kelly, Mr Sweeney replied: "Yeah, I do. I'm not guilty. I acted in self-defence."

Judge Waters remanded him in custody until May 30, when he is due to appear before Tralee District Court again.

An application for free legal aid was made, which was granted on the grounds that Mr Sweeney is on disability allowance for prescribed medication.

The 20-year-old will also receive medical treatment and a psychiatric assessment while in custody.

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