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Man goes on trial over burglary at Wicklow home of singer Mary Coughlan

Darren Carton (41) has pleaded not guilty to the burglary of the property in January 2021.

A MAN HAS gone on trial over the alleged burglary of the Wicklow home of well-known blues singer, Mary Coughlan, last year as well as threatening to kill her son-in-law who came across the intruder.

Darren Carton (41) of Carraigoona Close, Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow has pleaded not guilty to the burglary of the property at Barchuilla Commons, Kilmacanogue on 9 January 2021.

The accused has also pleaded not guilty to a charge of threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Coughlan’s son-in-law, Ciarán Farrelly, contrary to Section 5 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997.

Carton has also denied a separate offence of criminal damage to a sliding door of Coughlan’s house on the same occasion.

Farrelly told a sitting of Wicklow Circuit Criminal Court that he lived with his wife, Claire, and three children in a house adjoining the home of his mother-in-law.

He outlined how on returning home on 9 January last year, he was told by his wife that someone had tried to break into their house.

Farrelly said he rang his mother-in-law and she told him that she was just coming up the road to her house.

The trial heard Coughlan rang her son-in-law back a short time later to inform him that someone had also broken into her house.

Farrelly said he discovered a sliding door had “popped out” when he arrived at the singer’s house.

When he looked inside, he saw a man trying to get out a window and he ran over and hit the intruder in the face.

Farrelly said he recognised the male from being around Kilmacanogue.

The witness said the intruder put his hand in his pocket and threatened to stab him after he had hit him a second time.

At that stage, Farrelly said he was “fearful”, although he admitted he did not see a weapon at any time.

The trial heard the intruder hopped out of the window but ended up in a struggle with Coughlan’s partner, John Kelly, before he broke free and ran down the road.

Farrelly said he ran after the man and pushed him against a parked van at which point he was threatened again with being stabbed.

He said he withdrew but managed to take a short video clip of his assailant which was shown in the courtroom.

Farrelly said he also took a video with his phone the following day of a man at a bus stop in Kilmacanogue whom he believed was the same person.

Counsel for the DPP, James Kelly BL, said the intruder had left a fingerprint on the parked vehicle during his confrontation with Farrelly.

Kelly said the trial would hear evidence that a fingerprint captured from the vehicle would match that of the accused.

The trial before Judge Patrick Quinn and a jury of six women and six men was adjourned until next Tuesday.

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Seán McCárthaigh