Defendant stabbed man 'to get away from him'

The main thing on the mind of a 28 year-old Limerick man when he stabbed another man was "to get away from him", a murder trial jury heard today.

The main thing on the mind of a 28 year-old Limerick man when he stabbed another man was "to get away from him", a murder trial jury heard today.

Under cross-examination at the Central Criminal Court Mr Robert McNamara said his intention was not to kill the man, but that he feared he would catch up with him if he ran away from him.

Mr McNamara of Clarina Park, Ballinacurra, Westin, Limerick has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Brendan O'Connell, aged 22, 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.

The accused told the court that he "panicked" because he thought Mr O’ Connell was about to "pull a knife" on him. "I certainly didn’t mean to kill him," he told Mr Andrew Bradley SC for the prosecution.

In his defence evidence the accused has already told the court that the two men had spent the day drinking together and were in the park organising a handbag snatch.

He said he was "triggered" by some questions the deceased asked him about fighting and about scars on his face.

When asked by Mr Bradley why he didn’t just run away, he replied "that’s something I’ve been saying to myself since it happened...the reason I didn’t was because he was a lighter frame of a person and would catch me".

He told the court he did not see the deceased with a knife but "presumed" he had one. "I thought this person was going to hurt me," he continued.

"If I had time to think about it properly I wouldn’t have stabbed him," he said. Defence evidence in the trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Henry Abbot and a jury.

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