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Murder trial witness testifies that his friend said he was 'after getting burnt for €100 for cocaine'

Mark Crawford is charged with murdering Patrick ‘Pa’ O’Connor in Limerick city over two years ago.

File photo
File photo
Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

A MURDER TRIAL witness has testified that his friend told him that he was “after getting burnt for €100 for cocaine” before he was stabbed to death in a Limerick pub over two years ago.

Jack McGrath was giving evidence 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.

In his opening address to the jury yesterday, prosecuting counsel John Fitzgerald SC 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.

Cocaine

Giving evidence today, McGrath told Fitzgerald that he arrived at Fitzgerald’s Bar at around 10pm on 7 July 2018. McGrath said he was chatting to his friend, O’Connor, as he knew him from primary school, and that Crawford was also in the bar at the time. The witness said O’Connor told him that he had been drinking for the day and backing horses in Paddy Power.

McGrath testified that O’Connor told him later that evening that he was “after getting burnt for €100 for cocaine”. “He was inquisitive if he was going to get the €100 or cocaine and what the end result would be,” McGrath said. The witness said he told his friend not to get too excited as the bar owner was in the pub at the time.

McGrath said O’Connor told him later on in the night that he had not received the cocaine and he was wondering what was going to happen. “I told him to relax and it would all sort itself out. He wasn’t that agitated at all,” he added. McGrath said that O’Connor and Crawford were sitting together by the door when he left the bar shortly before midnight.

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Under cross-examination, the witness told defence counsel Patrick McGrath SC that O’Connor had come up to him two or three times in the bar about the €100 and cocaine. “He was wondering if he was getting the €100 back or the cocaine,” said the witness.

McGrath agreed with the defence barrister that he was concerned that the owner of the establishment would not be happy if he knew people were taking drugs on his premises. McGrath said O’Connor’s pronunciation was still good when he was talking to him and he wasn’t slurring his words.

The trial continues this afternoon before Ms Justice Tara Burns and a jury of 11 men and one woman. It is expected to last two weeks.

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Alison O'Riordan

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