An ill man on trial charged with murder told gardaí he could never explain the fear he felt when he stabbed his friend "in self defence".
A Central Criminal Court jury was watching videos of a statement and interviews that the accused gave shortly after a double stabbing.
Martin Toland of Walkinstown Park has pleaded not guilty to murdering 28-year-old Alan Nolan and seriously injuring James Carroll (now aged 32) at Cedar Brook Walk, Ballyfermot, Dublin.
The 36-year-old claims that he was acting in self-defence when he stabbed both men at Mr Nolan’s home on September 8, 2007.
The jury today watched Mr Toland cry through much of his statement and interviews in Ballyfermot Garda Station.
He explained that he, Mr Nolan and Mr Carroll had spent the night of September 7 playing cards and video games in Mr Nolan’s apartment.
He said a punch-up erupted after Mr Nolan began blaming Mr Toland’s sister for nuisance calls to him and his family.
Mr Toland explained that he was afraid because he was unfit due to having half a lung removed following an aneurysm.
“Alan knows what happened to me, being in hospital for a few years and I’m still not 100%,” he said.
He said Mr Nolan also knew that he was on warfarin (a blood thinner).
“I said if you hit me, you’d kill me,” he said. “Alan knows I have to avoid any trouble.”
“I think the more I said I didn’t want to fight, the more he got egged on,” he said, adding that he also explained that he couldn’t breathe.
He said things calmed down and Mr Nolan asked him upstairs to sort things out.
He said they talked for about 10 minutes before Mr Nolan became aggressive again and produced a knife.
“He came across the room at me, but he tripped on the duvet and then I managed to get a hold of him,” said Mr Toland. “He still had the knife.”
The defendant said he couldn’t run because he was afraid that Mr Nolan would stab him in the back.
He said he eventually got the knife and began ‘backing out of the bedroom’, by which time Mr Carroll had come upstairs.
“I just asked them to let me back down the stairs, but they came at me again,” he continued, explaining that he wanted to get out of the house. “I was just swinging the knife, trying to get them to stay back from me.”
“At that stage I could barely stand. That’s why I couldn’t run out of the house,” he said. “I can’t run.”
He said he was "jabbing" at the two of them as they were coming at him.
“I was trying to back down the stairs without turning my back to them so they wouldn’t jump me from behind,” he said.
He said he got down and went for the front door, pushing a table behind him as an obstacle.
“I looked back and Alan was slouched on the couch and Ziggy (Mr Carroll) was holding his side,” he said.
He said Mr Carroll ran back upstairs and that he thought he had gone up for a weapon.
He said he then rang an ambulance for Mr Nolan and gave him CPR while they waited. The court has already heard that both Mr Nolan and Mr Carroll were rushed to hospital with stab wounds to the heart. Mr Carroll recovered after emergency surgery.
“The one thing I can’t put into words is the fear I was in for my own life in that house,” said Mr Toland.
“I nearly died before. What I did, I did to defend myself. I never intentionally set out to hurt anyone.”
The trial continues before Mr Justice Barry White and a jury of seven women and five men.