Murder accused: 'My life is hell'

A man accused of the murder of a 22 year-old Limerick man in 1999 today told a jury his “life has been hell” and described how he abused prescription drugs in the months prior to stabbing the deceased.

A man accused of the murder of a 22 year-old Limerick man in 1999 today told a jury his “life has been hell” and described how he abused prescription drugs in the months prior to stabbing the deceased.

Mr Robert McNamara (28) of Clarina Park, Ballinacurra, Westin, Limerick was giving defence evidence at the Central Criminal Court. He told his counsel Mr David Goldberg SC that he suffers from paranoia and has “difficulty trusting people”.

Mr McNamara denies murdering Mr Brendan O'Connell on 16 December 1999 at the People's Park, Limerick. The victim, of Hillview Grove, Doon, Co Limerick died from a single stab wound to the heart.

“I often sat down and thought about life, it’s hell, for me it’s hell…I just can’t get on in this world,” Mr McNamara told the court. The accused said he had been “sexually abused by a male nurse” when he was around 10 years old.

“I wouldn’t say it 100 per cent effected me, but it has had an effect on me,” he said.

He described how he had begun to take prescribed drugs at “a very young age” and when he did not get them from the doctor he would “get them on the road”. “I’ve an awful problem with tablets, it takes the stress of life away from me…when you take some tablets it makes things so easy,” he said.

When he was 14 years old, the accused began to “cut himself up” and said while he “knew he had a problem” he remains “bewildered about what that problem is”. He also said he was "paranoid and very insecure” as a result of scarring to his face suffered following a car crash in 1996.

The accused gave evidence of being treated at the psychiatric ward at Limerick Regional Hospital a number of times but said he could not remember the names of any of the doctors who treated him.

Apart from continued medication, he told counsel he did not receive any further treatment.

“I’m on medication for the last nine years…you grow immune to it, it wasn’t that strong anymore,” he said. He said one of these drugs is for the treatment of paranoia.

Five months before Mr O’Connell lost his life, the accused was shot and stabbed in an incident in the city. He withdrew a statement made to gardai about the incident because he was “frightened” and said he subsequently remained indoors, fearful to walk the streets.

“I never really recovered from this, I’m still not recovered,” he said. At the time, a two-week prescription would last him for just two days. “…I’d abuse it… it was not enough to make me feel comfortable,” he told Mr Goldberg. “I was taking it to relax…it made me chill out,” he added.

Mr McNamara will continue his evidence before Mr Justice Henry Abbot and a jury tomorrow.

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