Victim was angry on night of stabbing, court hears

A 24-year-old father of two who was fatally stabbed 11 times had a violent steak and was very angry on the night he was killed the Central Criminal Court heard today.

Fintan McKenna (aged 24), of Woodlands, Balla, Castlebar, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Francis ‘Frankie’ Heneghan (aged 24) in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo on August 12, 2009.

Giving evidence on the third day of the trial, Shannon McGintey, a friend of the deceased’s partner Grace McKenna, said she saw Mr Heneghan in Kiltimagh town approximately one hour before his death.

She told the court she had been aware Mr Heneghan and Grace McKenna had fallen out two days earlier and Mr Heneghan had moved out of their home.

When she met Mr Heneghan he was "very angry" and was looking for Fintan McKenna.

She said: "Frankie liked to be hard but was soft really, he seemed to have a violent streak in him that night I’d never seen him angry like that before."

It is the prosecution’s case Mr McKenna stabbed Mr Heneghan 11 times following an altercation in a laneway off Main Street Rear in Kiltimagh.

It is alleged Mr Heneghan and the accused, Grace McKenna’s brother, did not get on well and at the time of the killing there was serious animosity between them because Mr Heneghan had been staying with another woman.

Earlier, Finbar Manley told the court he witnessed the altercation which led to Mr Heneghhan’s death.

He had spent the night of the killing drinking in a derelict shed with a group of people including the accused.

One of the party, Sean Carmichael, fell and injured his head causing the group to walk him up to Main Street to wait for an ambulance.

Mr Manley told prosecuting counsel he was "awful drunk" at that stage and went into the chipper to get some food while the others waited outside.

"When I went outside there was a commotion; all the lads were starting on Frankie and he was starting on them," he said.

The witness confirmed that Fintan McKenna was one of the men involved in the exchange of words with Mr Heneghan.

A garda car drove by and Mr Heneghan ran off but Mr Manley met the deceased 20 minutes later outside the Chinese take-away.

The gardaí drove by telling the pair to move on; when they reached the Tavern laneway "Frankie spotted some lads and bolted forward".

Mr Manley said: "Frankie jumped forward and started throwing punches at two fellas who were there and I was shouting at them to stop because the guards were behind us."

He told Ms Pauline Walley SC, prosecuting, he couldn not make out the exact identity of the two men but he knew it was some of "the lads".

The court heard the fight was ‘fleeting’, lasting only seconds before a garda car drove up the laneway causing everyone to scatter.

Mr Manley followed Mr Heneghan who had turned right onto Main Street Rear because he thought he might be getting arrested.

"By the time I got there Frankie was on the ground and the guards were standing over him; you could hear fluid on his lungs."

"He was just about alive he got a couple of gasps out; there was a wound on his chest and there was blood," Mr Manley told the court.

During his cross-examination, counsel for the defence Mr Martin Giblin SC, put it to the witness that he was trying to create the impression of mutual aggression between the lads and Mr Heneghan when in reality the aggression was only coming from Mr Heneghan.

Mr Manley initially replied he felt the aggression was mutual but later said: "No the lads weren’t looking for trouble that night we were just drinking and having craic."

Mr Giblin SC asked: "Until Frankie appeared?" to which the witness replied: "Yea true, then it went bad."

The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice John Edwards.

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