Murder trial witness 'can remember nothing' of murder

A Wicklow woman has told the Central Criminal Court that she "can remember absolutely nothing" about a fatal stabbing of a man in a Bray pub six years ago even though she gave two statements to gardaí in 1999.

A Wicklow woman has told the Central Criminal Court that she "can remember absolutely nothing" about a fatal stabbing of a man in a Bray pub six years ago even though she gave two statements to gardaí in 1999.

Ms Loretta Smith from Enniskerry, Wicklow, told the murder trial that "the last few years have been a blur" as a result of her heroin addiction.

Richard O’Carroll (aged 34) with addresses at Greenpark Road, Bray, Co Wicklow and Cois Sleibhe, Southern Cross Road, Bray has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Keith Fortune (aged 27) of Hazelwood Upper, Dargle Road, Bray.

Mr Fortune allegedly died as a result of an incident at the "William Dargan Inn", Goldsmith Terrace, on Quinsboro Road in Bray in the early hours of May 2, 1999. He was in the company of family celebrating the christening of a child earlier that day.

Ms Smith was today deemed a hostile witness by trial judge Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne. Last week judge Dunne also deemed her sister, Jacqueline Smith as a hostile witness before the jury of seven men five women.

Prosecuting counsel, Mr Barry Hickson SC today suggested to Ms Smith that her memory loss was "deliberate".

"This is a strategy adopted by you and you are deliberately not remembering", Mr Hickson SC added.

Mr Hickson SC then read Ms Smith’s statements to gardaí taken in the days after the murder to the jury.

Ms Smith told the gardaí in May 1999 that she knew Keith Fortune "for years" and that he "wasn’t a man for fighting, there wasn’t a bad bone in his body".

In her statement to gardaí Ms Smith said she saw the accused "hold Keith Fortune with one hand" and was "jabbing him in the stomach with the other hand".

On the night of the fatal stabbing Ms Smith was in the company of the late Mr Fortune at the afters of a christening in the William Dargan Inn. She told gardaí in her statement that after last orders in the pub she heard screaming and shouting coming from outside.

After she ran into the hallway Ms Smith told gardaí that she saw the deceased collapse onto his knees.

"He said to me, what have I done? I haven’t done anything", Ms Smith told gardaí. The deceased man allegedly then said to Ms Smith, "Loretta, I didn’t deserve this".

The jury heard that Ms Smith "kept talking" to Mr Fortune but his "breathing kept getting shallow and shallow".

Ms Smith told gardaí in her statement that she was "sober" on the night of the fatal incident, saying, "I don’t drink at all".

After each of her statements were read to the jury, Mr Hickson SC asked Ms Smith did she remember anything at all, to which she replied no on each occasion.

The trial continues before Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne at the Central Criminal Court.

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