Accused expected better evidence from gardaí, court hears

A Tipperary man accused of murdering his 30-year-old neighbour and “best mate” told investigating gardaí he was expecting they had found blood or fingerprints when they re-arrested him.

A Tipperary man accused of murdering his 30-year-old neighbour and “best mate” told investigating gardaí he was expecting they had found blood or fingerprints when they re-arrested him.

Detective Garda Seamus Moran was giving evidence at the Central Criminal Court on the seventh day of the trial of John Paul Buck (aged 29) of Heywood Close, Clonmel.

Mr Buck has pleaded not guilty to stabbing to death father-of-one Fergus Roche at a house in the same estate in the early hours of October 1, 2005. He also denies setting fire to the vacant house.

D Gda Moran told Dominic McGinn BL (with Denis Vaughan-Buckley SC), prosecuting, he was interviewing the accused on January 1, 2007 after new information led to his re-arrest. He said this was explained to the defendant, but Mr Buck said he was being asked the same questions he had answered months earlier.

“Come back to me when ye’ve evidence,” he said. “I was expecting blood or fingerprints or something.”

Detective Garda Patrick Flood also gave evidence of having interviewed the defendant that day. He mentioned that Mr Buck had a conversation with another detective on a different occasion.

“I didn’t tell him anything. If he said I did, he lied,” said Mr Buck without being asked. “I didn’t admit to anything.”

The accused was then asked if he cared that Fergus Roche was killed and he said no. Asked if he was a friend of his, he again replied: “No.”

Detective Sergeant James Tierney interviewed Mr Buck that day about burns he had when questioned shortly after the killing.

Mr Buck had said he got them when trying to save Mr Roche. He had said a neighbour, Paddy Farrell, pulled him away when flames came out through a window.

Det. Sgt Tierney told him that Mr Farrell said this did not happen.

“It all depends who you believe,” replied Mr Buck.

Det. Sgt Tierney also asked him why he thought Mr Roche was killed. “Ratting,” suggested Mr Buck. When asked if he did not care, he confirmed that he did not.

Earlier in the trial, the jury heard that a fire-damaged key to Mr Buck’s front door was found at the crime scene. Mr Buck told gardaí he must have lost it when he tried to save “his best mate” from the fire the following morning.

On January 1, 2007, detectives asked him how he got into his own house the night of the killing, but he said he was not going to answer as it might be incriminating.

“I twisted the key and walked in,” he said later.

When asked if he wanted to know what his brother had answered to the same question, he said no.

“He’s telling lies anyway,” he then said, having insisted Alan Buck came home half an hour after him.

The trial will continue on Monday before Mr Justice George Bermingham and a jury of six men and six women.

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