A second witness told the judge and jury that the man he knew as Chippy also told him that night that he had murdered John Forrester.
The accused man’s lawyer suggested both witnesses were incorrect in their recollections due to alcohol — a suggestion they rejected.
Ciprian Grozavu, aged 39, of Bridge House, Sean Hales Place, Bandon, Co Cork, denies the charge of murder of John Forrester, aged 42, at Bridge House on November 12, 2011. The jury was told earlier that Catherine O’Connor, who also lived at Bridge House and was in a relationship with the accused and deceased, had previously pleaded guilty to Mr Forrester’s murder.
Shane O’Driscoll, who lived in one of the three flats at Bridge House, told Mr Justice Paul Carney and the jury that he was locked out and Mr Grozavu had let him in through the main door of the house after his then partner, Aaron Nolan, had gone home early with the keys to his flat.
Gardaí had come across him throwing stones at the window of the first-floor flat to try to wake Mr Nolan and had accompanied him into the building and up to his flat. He said when gardaí left he was alone in the flat with Mr Grozavu when he told him that he had killed Mr Forrester.
“Chippy [Mr Grozavu’s nickname in Bandon] came into the flat — he didn’t look great, he was pale and all nervous and everything and he just came out bluntly and said he was after slitting John Forrester’s throat. Sorry, first he said he killed John Forrester. I said I didn’t believe him because they were always fighting and then he said ‘I’m after cutting his throat — come down and I’ll show you’ — I said ‘No’ and I went to bed.”
Cross-examined by defence counsel, Tom Creed, Mr O’Driscoll denied that Mr Grozavu had said to him O’Connor had killed Mr Forrester and that his recollection was impaired because he had been drinking.
“I would not forget about something like that — a man is dead — Chippy said ‘I’m after killing John, I’m after slitting his throat’ — I was there, you weren’t,” he told Mr Creed.
Mr Creed said: “Do you think you are accurate in telling a story?”
The witness replied: “Yeah, that’s why I’m able to be up on the stand to correct you.”
Mr Creed said Mr O’Driscoll’s account of how he got into the building was inconsistent with garda evidence of him climbing in the window.
Aaron Nolan told how he returned to the flat after getting medical treatment to discover Mr O’Driscoll had gone to bed and he met Mr Grozavu and asked him for a cigarette.
“Chippy gave me a roll-up and then he said ‘I’ve murdered John’ and I said ‘Fuck off, don’t be annoying me’,” Mr Nolan testified — adding he had been drinking earlier but was sober at that stage.