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Sunday 28 May 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Laura Hutton via
# Patrick O'Connor
Murder accused told gardaí he stabbed friend in pub after deceased insisted he was owed €100, court hears
Mark Crawford is charged with murdering Patrick ‘Pa’ O’Connor in Limerick city over two years ago.

A MURDER ACCUSED told gardaí that he stabbed his friend in a pub after the deceased man insisted he was owed €100 for cocaine, a trial has heard.   

The defendant said a flick-knife was given to him by another person in the Limerick bar over not “being from that side” of the city and the worst thing he did was take the weapon. 

The jury was listening to garda interviews today in the Central Criminal Court trial of Mark Crawford (43), who is charged with murdering Patrick ‘Pa’ O’Connor (24) in Limerick city over two years ago.   

Crawford with an address at Quarry Road, Thomondgate, Co Limerick has pleaded not guilty to murdering O’Connor at Fitzgerald’s Bar, Sexton Street, in Limerick city between 7 and 8 July 2018. 

Detective Garda Damien Kennedy told prosecution counsel John Fitzgerald SC that five interviews were conducted with Crawford. In his first interview on 9 July, Crawford said he had met O’Connor in the bookies on 6 July and again the following day in Fitzgerald’s Bar, where they took cocaine together. “We got cocaine, I got the first one, we were having it between the four of us. I then gave him (O’Connor) €20, he gave €50, we were getting it for €70,” he said.

Crawford said that O’Connor told him later on that evening that he owed him a “oner” (€100). “I said I don’t. A fight started between us and he said I took his coke and I have to pay him a oner,” Crawford told gardaí. 

The accused man said a knife was given to him by someone in the bar over not “being from that side” of the city. “The worst thing I done was took it [sic]. The two of us got up to fight and whatever happened I took out the knife and stabbed him and ran out the door,” he added.

Crawford told gardaí that he felt like he was going to be beaten up and it had all happened so fast. “I just took it out and stabbed him. I didn’t realise what I’d done. We got up to fight over the coke. I thought I was going to get stabbed and beat up. I knew I’d done wrong” he added.

The accused said he called a member of his family and told them there had been a fight in the pub and he had stabbed someone. The defendant said he wanted “the ground to open up and swallow” him when he later found out that O’Connor had died. “I didn’t know what to do, I could not believe it,” he said.

Crawford said that the deceased was his friend and it was a “split second thing” and he never realised this could have happened. “I’m very sorry, I cannot believe what I’ve done. I got a fright, they saying I owe him a oner,” he said.

In his second interview, Crawford told detectives that he would not socialise in the area and would usually have a few drinks at home. The accused said he thought nothing of it when a young lad in the pub handed him a flick-knife and he put it in his pocket. Crawford said he did not know how many times he had stabbed the deceased. “He said I owed him a oner. I said I didn’t have it. Before I knew it I had stabbed him,” he explained. 

In later interviews, Crawford told gardaí that he had initially bought a gram of cocaine for €70 and when it was gone O’Connor bought some more. “I gave him €20 for it. Pa started going on that I owed him a oner like,” said the accused. 

Crawford said he and O’Connor both stood up and “went for each other”. He said O’Connor was standing in front of him and fell after he stuck the knife into him. “I just thought I’d give him a stab wound. I just kept going and when he fell I just ran,” he said. 

Crawford said he thought he was going “to get jumped” and he “got the fear” when the argument started. He said he will never know why he took the knife from the young lad and had aimed for O’Connor’s stomach. “I didn’t think I’d kill him. I did it more so he wouldn’t come back on top of me. I thought he was going to kill me, beat me or stab me,” continued the accused. 

The defendant said that O’Connor kept repeating that he wanted his “oner”. “I was as nervous as shit. I thought he was going to do me. I felt in fear,” he said. 

Crawford denied bringing the flick-knife to the pub and insisted that it was handed to him inside Fitzgerald’s Bar. He said he took the knife for protection and he did not intend to use it. “I’m very sorry for what happened, I regret my actions,” he said. 

In his opening address to the jury on Monday, Fitzgerald said that Crawford is accused of stabbing O’Connor to death in a Limerick bar after a row over payment for cocaine. 

The prosecution barrister said the accused man and the deceased had been taking cocaine together on the night and O’Connor was aggrieved that he had paid €100 for cocaine. 

The barrister said evidence will be given that the accused admitted stabbing the deceased to gardaí but said he had acted in self-defence out of concern he was going to be attacked as he was not from that part of Limerick city.

The trial continues on Monday before Justice Tara Burns and a jury of 11 men and one woman.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing.

Alison O'Riordan