Accused bought knife the same day as stabbing

A man, who was taking medication for schizophrenia, bought a knife for his own protection the same day that he fatally stabbed a homeless man, a murder trial has heard.

A man, who was taking medication for schizophrenia, bought a knife for his own protection the same day that he fatally stabbed a homeless man, a murder trial has heard.

Anthony McMahon (aged 27) of Raheen Square, Ballinacurra Weston, Limerick, denies the murder of Anthony O'Shea at Denmark Street, Limerick, on September 29, 2001.

On the second day of the trial at the Central Criminal Court in Limerick, the jury heard evidence of statements which the accused made to gardaí after his arrest.

The dead man was one of a number of people who drank on public streets in Limerick and who had taken part in regular taunting of the accused, the court heard.

In an earlier incident, the 'winos' had attacked the accused and taken books from him and, while he made a complaint, nothing ever came of it.

The accused said he was frightened by the 'winos' and admitted that he had purchased a kitchen knife in the Crescent Shopping Centre to protect himself.

"I was afraid they might have something ready for me so I wanted to have something ready for them," he said.

The court heard that the accused was 'shocked' when he heard that Anthony O'Shea had died following a row on Denmark Street in the city.

The accused admitted he had lashed out with the knife but he thought he had just hurt Mr O'Shea and he didn't believe he could have gone so far, the court heard.

He had taken tablets on the day Mr O'Shea was fatally stabbed and he didn't remember much about the row on Denmark Street.

Former State Pathologist Dr John Harbison also gave evidence of a post-mortem examination carried out on the body of Mr O'Shea.

The court heard that the victim had suffered several stab wounds to the body but the cause of death was a single stab wound which penetrated the heart.

Dr Harbison said that high alcohol levels in the victim's blood and urine could have rendered him unable to defend himself from attack.

He also agreed that the victim's liver was typical of a man who had consumed a lot of alcohol and that his unkempt appearance was consistent with that of a homeless man who lived on the street.

Earlier in the trial, evidence was heard of how two Danish tourists wielding golf clubs had chased a man armed with a knife around the streets of Limerick.

They were among a visiting Danish golfing party staying at a guest house across the road from where Mr O'Shea was fatally stabbed.

The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Paul Carney.

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