Murder accused says he 'lost it' when he attacked man with an axe

A murder accused took the stand at his trial today and said he had "lost it" when he hit the deceased multiple times with an axe.

Wayne Cluskey (aged 25), and Josh Turner (aged 24), both of Mooretown, Ratoath, Co Meath have pleaded not guilty to the murder of 27-year-old Christopher Nevin at Tailteann Road, Navan on November 19, 2015.

Mr Turner today took the stand at the Central Criminal Court and told his defence counsel Patrick Marrinan SC that it was "complete madness" and that he was "dizzy" and "panicking" when he picked up the axe.

He added: "I thought I hit him once but I know now I hit him more than once."

Mr Marrinan said to him that he struck a "number of blows and killed Christopher Nevin".

He replied: "That's right."

He added: "I had lost it at that stage - I can't remember - It was a minute of madness."

Mr Turner began his evidence by saying he was "shocked" when he first saw CCTV footage of the incident. "It didn't happen in the way I thought it happened," he said.

He said he had given Christopher Nevin a male chihuahua to breed with three female chihuahuas belonging to Mr Nevin. On the day of incident he spoke to Mr Nevin over the phone.

"He said he would fix me up with some money," he said. Mr Turner needed cash to buy dog food and his girlfriend's birthday was the next day.

He arranged to meet Mr Nevin at a mutual friend's house on Tailteann Road. Mr Marrinan asked him if he planned to do away with Christopher Nevin at this point and he replied: "No, not at all."

He travelled to Tailteann Road with Wayne Cluskey, his friend with whom he lived at the time. When he arrived he knocked at the door or window and he heard Mr Nevin call out for him to wait while he put on his runners.

Mr Turner then asked: "Have you got that money?" and then he saw the hatchet in Mr Nevin's left hand. He said Mr Nevin threatened him, saying: "I will chop your fucking head off. I'm going to kill you."

He told Mr Marrinan: "I didn't know where this was coming from."

He said he backed away and told Mr Nevin he didn't want to fight him and that they were good friends. Mr Nevin's friend Wayne Casserly then came out of the house and stood between them before Wayne Cluskey, who was carrying a long-handled axe, got into a struggle with Mr Nevin. Mr Cluskey did not swing the axe.

At some point Mr Turner said he received a blow to the head but he can't remember when or from whom.

Mr Turner then went inside the house on Tailteann Road to call for help but when none came he went back outside where Wayne Cluskey and Mr Nevin were wrestling on the ground.

He heard Wayne say: "Stop hitting me." The axe that Wayne Cluskey had had in his hand was now on the ground and Mr Turner picked it up. "That was when I just flipped," he said.

"I was dizzy and light-headed," he said. "I completely lost it."

In interviews with gardaí a few days after the incident he said he hit Mr Nevin only once, however, when he viewed CCTV footage taken from a house across the street he realised he had hit him a number of times.

He also initially claimed that Mr Nevin attacked him when he emerged from the house but accepted that the CCTV evidence showed that was not true.

After the fight, as Mr Nevin lay dying no the ground, Mr Turner said he searched for a phone to call an ambulance.

Counsel for the Prosecution Michael O'Higgins SC put it to Mr Turner that he lied to gardaí when he told them Mr Nevin attacked him first and that he only hit Mr Nevin once.

He asked him if he had lied to make himself look better and make paint Mr Nevin in "the worst light possible".

He denied lying, saying that was how he remembered it and until he saw the CCTV footage he was sure that was how it happened.

The prosecution and defence are expected to give their closing speeches on Monday in front of Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of nine men and three women.


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