Accused man says woman 'planning to kill him'

A man on trial for murdering a young Dublin woman confessed that he “did her” because she was planning to kill him and take his money, a garda witness told the Central Criminal Court.

Giving evidence in the Clive Butcher murder trial, Detective Sergeant James Byrne said the accused made the confession after he had been charged with Rebecca Hoban's murder at Donnybrook garda station, and was waiting to be brought before Dublin District Court.

Reading from his notes, Detective Byrne told the jury that Mr Butcher said: “She had my bank number and my pin number and she was going to do me in along with some other bloke, and they were going to hide my body and take my money.

"I heard her on the phone the other day saying I could get 500 a day out of my account, and if they got away with it for four months, they would have my 100 grand. So I did her.”

Mr Butcher, a homeless drug addict, had told gardaí in his interviews that he was to get £100,000 from the sale of a house.

The 44-year-old, who is originally from the UK but has an address at Ranelagh Road in Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Rebecca Hoban at his flat in December 2008.

He has admitted killing the 28-year-old, but his guilty to manslaughter plea was not accepted by the State.

Ms Hoban, who was also homeless and addicted to heroin, was stabbed six times in the back on the evening of December 17, 2008. Her injuries caused her lungs to collapse and one of her knife wounds was 19 cm deep.

Mr Butcher told gardaí that they had been together for about a year, and their relationship was “more or less” about heroin. He said he had loved her and would never have hurt her.

He told detectives that a row broke out over money for drugs, and she came at him with a bread knife. He said he got her arm behind her back and pressed her against the wall, and only noticed she'd been stabbed when he saw blood and she slid to the floor.

Counsel for the defence, Mr Brendan Grehan SC, asked Detective Byrne why he had not taken Mr Butcher to an interview room straight away and video-taped the statement.

“ I have to suggest it is a total travesty, the idea that this was some proper sort of confession” Mr Grehan said.

Detective Byrne agreed that it wasn't “ideal” but said he had read Mr Butcher's statement back to him in the patrol car on the way to court, and that the accused had signed it.

Commenting on this evidence in his closing speeches, senior prosecuting counsel Mr Bernard Condon SC, said that the “admission made outside the provisions of detention is in fact the most consistent with the physical findings”.

He said that this version was consistent with the number and location of the stab wounds and the fact that there was no blood on the wall where Mr Butcher had said the knife went into Ms Hoban.

“The fact that he said it outside the interview room is something the Gardai are not in control of...in my submission it is reliable and not only reliable but consistent...with the cold, clinical facts,” Mr Condon said.

He also suggested that Mr Butcher's had been childish in his account that the knife “went into” Rebecca Hoban.

“This is not a Bart Simpson moment...there is something deliberate about it.”

But Mr Grehan for the defence asked the jury to consider that the “one piece of evidence the prosecution says ties it all together is not on video-tape.”

He asked the jury to “ignore (it) totally) and said if the accused is to have a safe trial, he should be tried only on the “relevant legal records” and not on “some cell door confession...that we thought were a thing of the past.”

“If this is murder, there doesn't appear to be any plan, any preparation, any cover-up after...any attempt to run and hide” Mr Grehan said, asking the jury to consider the fact that Mr Butcher rang

999 immediately and tried to revive Ms Hoban at the scene.

The jury is expected to begin its deliberations tomorrow.

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