Murder accused 'apologised' when arrested, court hears

The jury in the trial of a man and woman accused of murdering a taxi driver in Blanchardstown last year has heard that the man replied “I’m sorry” when arrested for the offence.

The jury in the trial of a man and woman accused of murdering a taxi driver in Blanchardstown last year has heard that the man replied “I’m sorry” when arrested for the offence.

Carlos Byrne (aged 22) has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Mark Smyth (aged 31) of Linnetsfield Square, Clonee, Co Meath, at Fortlawn Avenue on March 18, 2009. His partner Lindsey Fahy (aged 25), of the same address, also denies the crime.

Sergeant Michael Kennedy told John Aylmer SC, prosecuting, that gardaí received information two days after Mr Smyth’s death that Ms Fahy and Mr Byrne were at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Santry. He said the pair was arrested there for the offence of causing serious harm.

Sgt Kennedy said that Mr Byrne was taken to a separate part of the room from Ms Fahy while they waited to be taken to garda stations. During the wait Ms Fahy was cautioned and made a statement which was noted in a garda notebook.

She said: “Your man Mark Smyth came up to my house at Linnetsfield Square. Carlos was with me and he (Mr Smyth) was looking for money. Carlos told him that he didn’t have any, that it was up in Fortlawn. He (Mr Smyth) said he would bring us there."

Ms Fahy told gardaí: “Carlos said to me 'you will have to come with me or he will kill me'. We both took knives. We got into the car and he had his girlfriend and child with him."

Ms Fahy said that when they arrived at Fortlawn, "Carlos started to stab Mark in the neck". Ms Fahy told gardaí: "It was all about money".

Sgt Kennedy told the court that Mr Bryne was released from detention on March 21, 2008, but was immediately rearrested and cautioned in relation to Mr Smyth’s murder. He replied: "I’m sorry".

The jury heard evidence today about the preservation of Mr Smyth’s body and the scene of the alleged crime. Inspector Peter Hughes said there was a trail of blood running from Mr Smyth’s taxi, which was parked at 23, Fortlawn Avenue, down to 81, Fortlawn Avenue where his body lay.

He said there was also red staining leading from 81, Fortlawn Avenue to 7, Fortlawn Drive. He saw blood on the wall of number 7 and on the tiled floor of its porch. He said Patrick Fahy opened the door to number 7 and allowed the house and driveway to be preserved for technical examination.

Garda Anton Keating told the court that he had been at the scene of the alleged crime and had also searched the hotel room in which the two accused were arrested.

Under cross examination by Patrick Marrinan SC, defending Mr Byrne, Gda Keating agreed that he had known Mr Byrne from playing hurling in Ballymun a number of years earlier. He said Mr Byrne had been captain of a team and a talented player.

Gda Keating agreed that the day after Mr Smyth died he received a call on his mobile from Mr Byrne. He said he did not recognise the voice and it did not sound like the Carlos Byrne he knew. He was aware that Mr Byrne was wanted in connection with Mr Smyth’s death.

Gda Keating agreed that Mr Byrne had wanted to talk to him about what had happened but Gda Keating advised him to hand himself into the detectives involved in the case. Mr Byrne told Gda Keating he did not trust the gardaí, so Gda Keating offered to meet him with a detective.

Gda Keating said he was then called away and asked Mr Byrne for his phone number but the accused said he did not have a phone and was using someone else’s. Gda Keating asked Mr Byrne to call back in an hour, but he did not.

The trial will continue on Monday before Mr Justice Paul Butler and a jury of six men and six women. The jury was told the case will run into the following week.

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