Jury shown hatchet found in home of murder accused

A murder trial jury has been shown a hatchet found in the home of two men accused of a Limerick murder, hours after the deceased was killed.

Garda Josephine Falvey identified the hatchet to the Central Criminal Court during the trial of three men charged in connection with the 43-year-old man’s death.

Seán Flanagan, aged 28, and Paul Colbert, aged 46, of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect in Limerick City, are charged with the murder of Gerard McMahon on Jan 18, 2012.

They have pleaded not guilty to murdering him outside his cousin’s house, also on Lenihan Avenue.

Ian Flanagan, aged 24, of the same address as his co-accused, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of assisting an offender on the same date. He is accused of removing a CCTV recording device from their house, knowing it might form evidence in a prosecution.

The jury has heard that Seán and Ian Flanagan are brothers and Mr Colbert is their uncle.

Garda Falvey testified that she assisted in a search of the home of the three accused men on Jan 18 last year, initially concentrating on the hot press.

“I located two small swords and I located a hatchet,” she said yesterday.

She said the swords were beside the lagging jacket, but that the hatchet wasn’t overtly visible.

“There was a panel inside the door and you had to look around,” she said.

She identified the black-and-yellow-handled hatchet for the jury.

Brendan Nix SC, defending Ian Flanagan, asked her to measure the axe in inches and provided her with a ruler. She measured it in the witness box. Its handle was 12.25in long, she said, and the blade measured 5.75in from handle to sharp edge.

Garda Tom Keane said he searched a house on Hyde Rd in Limerick City the following day as part of the investigation into the killing.

“I found a CCTV hard drive contained in a Superquinn shopping bag,” he said, explaining that he had found it in a cupboard under the stairs.

He identified the hard drive in court.

The trial has already heard that Mr McMahon was stabbed numerous times as he mounted the steps of his cousin’s house that morning.

The State alleges that Seán Flanagan and Paul Colbert acted in joint enterprise to attack him.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and a jury of eight women and four men.


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