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Dublin: 16 °C Friday 10 July, 2020

Man killed after row over who owned can of drink, court hears

Paul Keating has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Mark Richardson.

File photo of a man opening a drink can
File photo of a man opening a drink can
Image: Shutterstock/successo images

A DUBLIN WOMAN has described the moment she saw her partner’s lifelong friend stab him in his chest in their kitchen.

The deceased man’s son said it had followed a scuffle over who owned a can of drink that his father had given him.

The witnesses were giving evidence at the Central Criminal Court today in the trial of a 51-year-old man who is charged with murdering the father-of-four.

Paul Keating, of Harmonstown Road, Artane, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of 47-year-old Mark Richardson on 16 March 2017. He died in hospital an hour after the stabbing at his home elsewhere on Harmonstown Road.

Aisling Kenny testified that she and Richardson had been together for 15 years and had three children together when they moved into their home the previous year. She told Michael Delaney SC, prosecuting, they had been homeless before that.

She explained that her partner’s lifelong friend, Keating, lived a few doors away and that he often visited their home, where he would drink with the deceased.

She said both men had gone out together that day and arrived back around lunchtime with an eight-pack of cans each. The court already heard that this included cider and beer.

She joined the men drinking in their dining room at around 6pm. She said the men had got through most of the alcohol they had bought by the time of the stabbing. She said that her partner and the accused were messing.

“They were slagging each other over nicknames they used to call each other,” she said.

“There was a time I can remember Mark having Paul in a headlock and kind of nuggying,” she said, explaining that this was “kind of like rubbing his head”.

She said she didn’t remember either of them getting annoyed during this time and that both men then went out the back for no more than five minutes.

“The next thing I remember is Mark being stabbed,” she said. “It happened in the kitchen.”

She confirmed to Delaney that Keating had stabbed him with a long, kitchen knife. “Mark referred to it as the cabbage knife,” she recalled.

‘Just snapped’ 

Richardson’s adult son explained that a “discussion” arose between his father and the accused as to who owned a can of drink his father gave him when he visited that evening.

Dean Connors told Delaney that he arrived with his partner and their child about half an hour before the stabbing.

“At the start, we were sitting there, having a yap,” he testified.

My father gave me a drink. There was a little discussion between my father and Mr Keating about who the can belonged to and a little scuffle between them.

He said that this scuffle lasted about 30 seconds.

“My father ended up getting a bit upset and went out to the back garden and was giving out,” he said, recalling that his partner had brought him back in.

His partner, Kim Valentine, had already given evidence of this. She told Caroline Biggs SC, defending, that Richardson had picked up a little stick when he went outside.

“When I called him back in, he put the stick back down and came in,” she said, agreeing that she had been shouting at him to stop because there were children in the house.

She said that she locked the back door when he came in as she “didn’t want the two of them going back out and fighting”. It was at this moment that she heard a kitchen drawer “being slammed open”.

She said she turned around and saw Keating lean over Kenny’s shoulder and stab Richardson with a kitchen knife. She also spoke of a scuffle between the men, and the deceased having his arm around Keating’s neck after the disagreement over the can of beer.

She said that her impression of Keating’s neck being grabbed was that this was the deceased saying, ‘Come on, we’re having a few drinks, just drop it.’

However, she said Keating had “just snapped” and that she saw “a whole change”. She agreed that everything that happened after this point was “very, very quick’”.

The trial will continue tomorrow morning before Mr Justice Robert Eagar and a jury of six women and six men.

Comments are closed due to ongoing legal proceedings. 

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Natasha Reid

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