By Eoin Reynolds
A murder accused told gardaí that he stabbed the deceased in the neck, but he couldn't remember why, a trial heard today.
Keith Brady invited officers to his cell in Castlerea Prison and after previously denying involvement in the stabbing, he told them he wanted to "get all this off my chest" and tell the truth.
Mr Brady (30) of Cartron Estate, Sligo has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Martin 'Matt' Kivlehan (59) at New Apartments, Holborn St, Sligo on August 2/3 2015. The State rejected his plea and he is on trial at the Central Criminal Court. Mr Kivlehan died from two stab wounds to the neck.
Inspector Tom Colsh told prosecuting counsel Paul Murray SC that he visited Castelrea Prison on December 15, 2015 along with Garda Martin McHale after a prison officer told them Mr Brady wished to speak to them.
They took a statement from the accused man that began: "I want to get all this off my chest about the murder of Matt Kivlehan." He said it had been "killing me inside" and that he wanted to tell the truth.
In August 2015, Mr Brady said, he was addicted to heroin and on the day of the killing he went to St Joeseph's church in Sligo to see the priest "because he sometimes gives me €20". The priest refused to give him money but Mr Brady's sister Janice stole some coins from a back room of the church. They walked to a nearby Topaz where they changed the coins for a five euro note. They then stole two bottles of wine from a Tesco and got cans of cider at an off-licence.
After some time Janice asked: "Do you want to go to Matt's?" They had been to his apartment before, drinking. Janice knocked and Mr Kivlehan invited them in, he said. After that, things were "normal" or "good" according to Mr Brady, who said they listened to music. Janice and Keith called a local heroin dealer using Mr Kivlehan's landline and bought heroin from him.
Back in Mr Kivlehan's home Mr Brady said the deceased got "a little narky", but he didn't pay much attention because that could be normal for him. Janice was moving between a couch and a chair in the sitting room and, "Matt was getting grumpier and Janice was getting loud".
He remembered Mr Kivlehan stood up and sat down a few times, and said something like: "I wouldn't touch Janice."
The stabbing he remembered as a "freak moment", and said he couldn't recall where he got the knife but he remembered stabbing him in the neck.
He added: "To this day I don't know why."
The accused said that he "never went out that Sunday to kill anyone" and "it wasn't meant to be like that." Following the stabbing Mr Brady knew Mr Kivlehan was dead, he and his sister took the deceased from the chair and lay him on the ground. They put a white duvet over him and Janice put a knife in the dead man's hand.
"It was like a different world," said Mr Brady of the aftermath, adding that they were both in total shock. They smoked heroin in Mr Kivlehan's apartment before leaving and walking to an abandoned house where they were living at the time. They found some clothes in a container and changed out of what they had been wearing. He could also remember going to Sligo train station to smoke heroin in the toilets.
Later that day he was arrested.
Addressing the deceased's family, he said he was "sorry" and added: "I never meant for any of this to happen and I hope that me being here will help. I know it's their first Christmas without him and it's going to be so hard."
His final statement was: "Janice did not harm Matt in any way."
Inspector Colsh said he was present when Mr Brady was arrested on suspicion of murder in November 2016. When arrested Mr Brady said: "I just want to say that I'm very sorry. I never meant for any of this to happen and to this day I still don't know what went wrong."
The jury also heard that Mr Brady was interviewed by gardaí in November 2015, about five weeks before giving the statement in Castlerea. During three interviews on that occasion he told Detective Garda Paul Casey that he couldn't remember much about the night because he was "highly intoxicated" from alcohol and drugs and that he "didn't murder anyone".
The trial continues tomorrow in front of Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of six women and five men. One juror was discharged after she told the court she could not stay for the remainder of the trial.