Accused in murder trial tells jury he is 'very, very sorry'

A man accused of kicking another man to death then setting fire to his body has told a jury in the Central Criminal Court that he was "very, very sorry" for what he had done.

Alan Walsh (aged 39) of 43, Edenmore Park in Coolock denies the murder of Dermot Sheridan at Red Court, Seafield Road East, Clontarf between August 8 and 9, 2007. He also denies arson at the same time and place.

Mr Walsh told his defence counsel Mr Erwin Mill-Arden SC that if he could go back in time he would not have reacted when Mr Sheridan told him he was becoming just like his alcoholic father and his family were scum.

“I would have just walked out of the house.”

Mr Walsh said that he was surprised when Mr Sheridan started shouting insults at him. He said he punched Mr Sheridan in the face, then Mr Sheridan hit him back before he knocked Mr Sheridan on the ground.

He told Mr Mill-Arden that, at the time of the incident, he was on sick benefit for depression and anxiety. He was taking Seroxat for his depression and he also drank very heavily. He told the court that he was an alcoholic, like his father.

On the morning of August 8, he decided he would have a few drinks as it was a nice day. He took his dog, a Jack Russell called Tory, down to St Anne’s Park in Raheny were he met up with several other men who were drinking there.

Mr Walsh said one of the men bought him eight cans of lager which he drank over the course of the afternoon. At around 3.30pm, he went to a local off licence to buy eight more cans. At around 7.30pm, he went with the deceased and a third man Thomas Fitzpatrick to buy more drink.

When the park closed at around 9pm, the three men walked down to Red House, which they knew to be derelict.

Mr Walsh told the court that they went through to the kitchen at the back of the house. There was a high table in there and three chairs. The men sat down and they continued drinking.

Mr Walsh said he did not know how the argument began. Mr Fitzpatrick had been playing with Tory the dog and left when he and Mr Sheridan started arguing. He said Mr Sheridan started verbally abusing him and walked towards him until his face was only a foot away.

He said Mr Sheridan shouted: "You are like your old fella, a scumbag, a waster. I was telling him to shut his face."

When Mr Sheridan fell down after he punched him a second time, Mr Walsh told the court he started to kick him.

"I was just so aggressive, so annoyed and when I saw a bottle on the ground I just picked it up."

He told Mr Mill-Arden that he merely threatened Mr Sheridan with each of the four bottles he picked up.

“I’m saying: You are f***ing lucky I’m not hitting you with this.”

Mr Walsh said that he just "went out of my head" for the duration of the attack. The jury heard earlier in the trial that he told gardaí he had kicked Mr Sheridan at least 90 times in an attack that took around an hour before piling newspapers over him and setting fire to them.

Mr Walsh told Mr Mill-Arden that he wanted Mr Sheridan’s family to know that he was “very, very sorry”.

“I did wrong on that day,” he said.

The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Barry White and the jury of eight men and four women.

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