Victim killed for refusing to give murder accused cocaine, court hears

A Meath man accused of murder telephoned gardaí and told them he killed his friend “because he would not give him cocaine”, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

A Meath man accused of murder telephoned gardaí and told them he killed his friend “because he would not give him cocaine”, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

John Mooney (aged 29), also known as John-Paul, with an address at Trim Rd, Summerhill, Co Meath, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Thomas Canning (aged 42), also from Summerhill, at Lough Lene, Collinstown, Co Westmeath on August 30 last year.

He has pleaded guilty to the unlawful killing of Mr Canning.

Opening the prosecution case, Michael Durack SC told the jury that they will have to decide whether or not Mr Mooney had the “intention to kill or cause serious harm” at the time of Mr Canning’s death.

He told the jury that the men had been friends for some time. Mr Mooney had difficulties with alcohol and drugs while Mr Canning was a separated father of two who was prone to depression.

Mr Durack said that the accused and the deceased collected their social welfare that afternoon in Summerhill and then took Mr Canning’s campervan for a drive round the area, calling in at various stops, including Castlepollard where they bought 24 cans of Miller, before ending up that evening in the carpark of Lough Lene, Collinstown.

There were two other campervans parked there.

The jury will also hear evidence from State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy that the cause of death was “a form of strangulation and that the deceased’s Adam’s Apple was fractured.”

Gda Martina Gallagher, Kells Garda Station, told the jury that she received a call on the night of the alleged murder from a woman who identified herself as Nicola Smith.

“She said that a friend of hers, John Mooney, had killed another friend of theirs, Gizmo” – Gizmo was Mr Canning’s nickname.

Ms Smith gave Gda Gallagher a phone number for Mr Mooney, she called him and he informed her that he had killed his friend, she said.

“He asked us to please hurry, to get the gardaí to come. There was an urgency in his voice.”

Gda Martin Fox, Granard Gda Station, told the court that he received a call from Mr Mooney at 3.42am that morning.

“He told me that he had just killed his friend. He said they’d been taking cocaine and had been drinking beer all day and that he asked his friend to give him more cocaine which he refused to give him and that that’s why he killed him.”

Gda Kieran Farrell, Edgeworthstown Gda Station, told the court that he went to the scene of the alleged murder and saw Mr Mooney sitting in the passenger seat of the campervan, drinking a can of beer.

“He was talking a lot and said, ‘I murdered him. I stood up for myself. I kept my corner’.”

Rachel Dillon told the court that she had been working earlier on that day in a pub in Delvin, Co Westmeath and that Mooney and Mr Canning had a drink there at approximately 6pm.

“To me they both seemed in very good form, very chatty, very friendly,” she said.

The trial continues.

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