The man on trial for murder shouted “I am the king of Mitchelstown”, a witness testified today, adding that his hand was left covered in blood after the accused shook hands with him that night.
The court also heard that the accused asked gardaí to give him “holy water and the holy bible” when they told him the next morning that the injured party had died.
Michael Dineen, aged 28, of Ard Mhuileann, Mitchelstown, denies the charge of murdering 36-year-old Patrick ‘Ginty’ O’Donnell at The Willie Andies bar on New Square, Mitchelstown, on June 1, 2018. He admits manslaughter, but pleaded not guilty to murder.
Paul Fletcher and Rosemarie Kiely brought their three-year-old daughter to the “merries” on The Square in Mitchelstown at about 8pm that evening and met the accused man twice — once around 8pm and a second time around 10.30pm after the incident at Willie Andies.
Mr Fletcher knew Michael Dineen. Ms Kiely only knew him to see him. Mr Fletcher said they were about to go home at around 10.30pm when Mr Fletcher heard the door of Willie Andies bursting open with a loud bang. One or two people were pushing and shoving, telling Mr Dineen to leave.
Mr Fletcher said: “Then he ran towards me, stopped, put out his hand and shook my hand. ‘We are alright aren’t we?’ [Dineen asked]. I said: ‘Yes.’ I thought he was in a fight. There was blood on his T-shirt, hands and hair. I said: ‘Jesus, Mike, what are you after doing? Are you alright?’ He didn’t give a reply. He just ignored it and ran up The Square towards the top of The Square.
Cross-examined by defence senior counsel Brendan Grehan, Mr Fletcher agreed that the accused was quite drunk, stumbling and messy, and appeared to be agitated and hyper.
Mr Grehan SC said: “After shaking hands, your hand was covered in blood?”
Mr Fletcher confirmed that it was and said there was blood pretty much everywhere on the accused. Ms Kiely also heard Mr Dineen shouting “I am the King of Mitchelstown”.
Earlier in the night, when the couple and their daughter encountered the defendant, he was drunk and drinking whiskey from a tea mug. Ms Kiely said the accused got a bit cross with the man operating the trampoline and told him to let a little girl go on the trampoline without charging.
When interviewed by gardaí, Mr Dineen made various comments. Garda Brian McCabe said the accused said: “I hit him. He gave me three slaps and I hit him once and he went down. I went hard when I hit him.”
Garda Eugene Farrell noted Dineen saying: “I drank his pint and he hit me so I hit him back. What did I do? I killed a man. He was a sound man with a young family like myself. I just want to tell the truth. I don’t believe it, I don’t believe it, I killed a man.”
Garda Farrell said the defendant told him he was on anti-psychotic medication and asked for “holy water and the holy bible”.
He said: “God help me, I killed a man.”
In interview with Detective Garda Noel Howley, the accused said: “The man hit me over a pint. I hit him back. Now he is dead… I am not really bothered what happens to me — prison, gardaí — I have a very good friend who is dead.
“It is not my fault. I defended myself. I am afraid I am going to be locked up for all life for something I did not do. I never intended it.”
The case resumes tomorrow for the eighth day of the trial before Mr Justice Alexander Owens and the jury of six men and six women at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.