Murder accused took knife from home to scare away drug dealer, court told

Murder accused took knife from home to scare away drug dealer, court told
William Gilsenan

A murder accused told gardaí that he took a knife from his home to scare away a drug dealer who had threatened to smash up his house, a trial at the Central Criminal Court has heard.

William Gilsenan (aged 24), of The Green, Larch Hill, Oscar Traynor Road, Santry Dublin 17 has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 29-year-old Edward Fitzgerald in a car park outside the accused's home on October 17, 2014.

Garda Fiona Divilly told prosecuting counsel Maddie Grant BL that she was present for an interview with Mr Gilsenan at Ballymun Garda Station on October 18, 2014.

She agreed that during the interview Mr Gilsenan said that he owed Mr Fitzgerald €100 and was "terrified" when Mr Fitzgerald called to his home demanding the money and threatening him and his mother.

When gardaí asked what he intended to do with the knife he said: "I thought, if he comes near me I will whip it out and then he won't come near me."

He said he was afraid of Mr Fitzgerald and wanted Mr Fitzgerald to fear him.

He said that he had owed the money to Mr Fitzgerald for a couple of months and denied that it was a drug debt.

He said he had been stuck for money and Mr Fitzgerald offered to help him out.

At first, he said Mr Fitzgerald told him to pay him back when he could, but then he started making demands.

He regularly called him and threatened him over the phone.

"He was threatening to smash my head in," he said.

Mr Gilsenan told gardaí that he changed his phone number so that Mr Fitzgerald would stop calling, but then he messaged him on Facebook.

He said he hadn't refused to repay the money, but told Mr Fitzgerald he didn't have it right away.

"I was afraid of him," he said. "I tried to talk to him and sort it out but he wanted everything now."

On the day when he found Mr Fitzgerald outside his home he said the deceased abused and threatened him again, saying: "Get my money, I'm not leaving and I'm getting people down here to wreck your gaff."

In earlier interviews he said he also threatened to burn his house and to smash or wreck his mother's house.

Mr Gilsenan left the scene of the argument and went to his apartment but he had to go back outside to run an errand.

He said he was "terrified" and picked up the knife thinking he would use it to scare Mr Fitzgerald away.

"I thought: If he gets out of the car I will take out the knife and I could scare him off. I had no intention of using it."

Detective Garda Shay Woods interviewed Mr Gilsenan on October 18 at Ballymun Garda Station.

He agreed with Ms Grant that the accused told him he planned to tell his then girlfriend to stay at her mother's home and that he would stay at his father's house.

"I wasn't going to go back to Larch Hill," he said.

When he went outside he said Mr Fitzgerald started shouting at him again and a scuffle started with the deceased in the driver's seat of his car and Mr Gilsenan at the door.

He said that he did not intend to use the knife but grabbed hold of Mr Fitzgerald's legs as the deceased kicked him through the open door.

He said he pulled out the knife and struck Mr Fitzgerald in the legs.

He said he could not remember how many times and said he did not think he had hit Mr Fitzgerald in the chest.

Deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis has already told the trial that Mr Fitzgerald died from a knife wound to the heart.

Mr Gilsenan told gardaí that once he had used the knife he saw that Mr Fitzgerald was getting out of the car so he ran away. Mr Gilsenan said he is not a violent person and not a fighter.

"I don't have the bottle. I don't have it in me," he said.

He said he just wanted to get away but he was scared that Mr Fitzgerald would run him down in his car if he tried to run.

He said he had never intended to kill him and that he brought the knife only to scare Mr Fitzgerald away.

He told gardaí that he was "disgusted" with the stabbing and that it shouldn't have happened.

The trial continues tomorrow in front of Justice Paul Butler and a jury of seven women and five men.

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