Murder accused was a fantasist who told lies, says former girlfriend

An ex-partner of a man on trial for a double murder has testified that he was a fantasist and “told a lot of lies”.

Mark Nash, aged 42, who has last addresses at Prussia St and Clonliffe Rd in Dublin, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the murder of Sylvia Shields, aged 60, and Mary Callanan, aged 61, between March 6 and March 7, 1997.

Lucy Porter, who was in a relationship with Mr Nash in March 1997, yesterday told counsel for the State, Brendan Grehan SC, that she was living with the accused and their child in Prussia St in Dublin 7 in March 1997 .

She told the court she worked “quite a lot of nights and irregular shifts” in Eddie Rockets restaurant on O’Connell St.

On March 6 1997, she was working and Mr Nash was attending a charity quiz at the GPO on O’Connell St.

Ms Porter told the court that Mr Nash, who was working at a sales company, came into Eddie Rockets with two male colleagues after the quiz sometime after midnight.

She told the court he was wearing a “velvet jacket”.

Mr Grehan asked her did she remember ever taking the jacket for dry cleaning and she replied saying “at some point” in 1997.

The prosecution also asked her about black Caterpillar boots Mr Nash was wearing that night and Ms Porter replied saying they bought them in a shop in Dublin in 1996 or 1997.

When she got home from work around 7am on March 7, 1997, Mr Nash was in bed

When asked by Mr Grehan if she was aware of the two women found dead in Grangegorman 18 years ago, she told the court it was close to where they were living.

She said she recalled Mr Nash saying when he saw something on the television “something like, what kind of a place had we moved to or along those lines”.

When asked by the prosecution Mr Grehan if she had noticed a change in Mr Nash’s behaviour, she told the court how her former boyfriend, who did not like showering, started to take showers more often, up to three times a day.

Their relationship ended shortly afterwards and Mr Nash moved out in April or May 1997 and moved in with his new girlfriend Sarah Jane Doyle.

When put by Mr Hugh Hartnett SC for the accused, to Ms Porter, whether Mr Nash was somewhat of a “fantasist”, she agreed.

“What do you mean a fantasist? asked Mr Grehan in re-examination.

“He told a lot of lies not just to me but to everyone I think” replied Mr Porter.

After lunch, cross-examination of James McHugh, former assistant commissioner of An Garda Siochana, with responsibility for the South-East region in 1997 was continued by Hugh Hartnett SC for the accused.

Mr McHugh said he did not know in 1997 that Mr Nash had a reputation of being a fantasist. He said if it was known by gardaí “it should be a matter that be brought to my attention”.

The trial continues.

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