Man admits killing girlfriend after 'hell of a struggle'

A man on trial for murdering Dubliner Rebecca Hoban over a year ago told gardaí there was “a hell of a struggle” before he killed her at his bedsit.

A man on trial for murdering Dubliner Rebecca Hoban over a year ago told gardaí there was “a hell of a struggle” before he killed her at his bedsit.

Clive Butcher, who had been in a relationship with the 28-year-old for about a year before her death, said that she was “fuming, like she was possessed” in the moments before she was stabbed.

The 44-year-old, who is originally from the UK but has an address at Ranelagh Road, has denied murdering Ms Hoban on the evening of December 17, 2008.

He has admitted her manslaughter, but the State has refused to accept the plea and the murder trial is progressing at the Central Criminal Court.

The jury has heard that Ms Hoban had been staying with Mr Butcher at his temporary accommodation on Ranelagh Road, following her release from prison.

The two had first met while sleeping rough in the Phoenix Park and had been “knocking around” together for around a year before her death.

Mr Butcher told gardaí in his interviews that their relationship was “more or less” about heroin, and that they both smoked “gear” together, with Ms Hoban frequently injecting herself.

He said they had been getting on well in the days leading up to the incident, because it was just the two of them “with no one else” and he had enough money for drugs for them.

Mobile phone records show that Ms Hoban texted him in the hours before her death saying: “I love you Mr C. Butcher.”

On the evening of December 17, 2008 he said they'd again smoked heroin together at his flat when a row broke out after she asked for money for more drugs.

Mr Butcher said she snatched up a bread knife and came towards him with it, threatening him.

He said he couldn't remember “losing the head” and that he was scared and just wanted to get the knife from her.

He told gardaí there was a violent struggle while she kept hold of the knife, but he got her hand behind her back and pressed her up against the wall.

The accused said he did not realise she had been stabbed until he saw the blood and she slid to the floor. He said he turned to get his phone to call for help, and when he turned back he said there was a big pool of blood.

When asked by gardaí if he accepted that he had stabbed Rebecca, he replied: “No. I know full well I didn't. I don't have it in me, it's not in my nature at all.”

The court has previously heard recordings of the 999 call that Mr Butcher made in the moments following the stabbing.

He told the operator that he was evil and had just stabbed a woman three or four times.

As he administered CPR to Ms Hoban, he was heard saying: "I have to save your f***ing life I suppose haven't I?”

When gardaí asked him about the call he replied: “I don't know what I said. I was in a state of shock. I just wanted to get help for her.”

When asked if he had any explanation for the fact that she had been stabbed six times in the back, he said: “No.”

The deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis has told the jury that Ms Hoban's lungs collapsed and she inhaled an extensive amount of blood as a result of the stab wounds, one of which was 19 cm deep.

The trial is due to resume on Monday morning before Mr Justice George Birmingham.

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