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Jury to consider verdict in trial of man accused of murdering former soldier

Warren O’Connor died from a single stab wound to the neck.

Image: William Murphy via Flickr

A JURY AT the Central Criminal Court will return tomorrow to consider their verdict in the trial of a Dublin man accused of murdering a former soldier.

Gary Watson (35), with an address at Millbrook Avenue, Kilbarrack, Dublin 13 has pleaded not guilty to murdering Warren O’Connor (24) at Hole in the Wall Road, Donaghmede, Dublin 13 on January 16, 2010.

O’Connor died from a single stab wound to the neck and the knife’s blade was found “partially impaled” in his body when his post-mortem was conducted.

Watson also denies assaulting Philip Woodcock (34) causing him harm on the same occasion and producing a knife to intimidate another person in the course of a dispute.

House party

The two-week trial has heard that a fight ensued between two groups of men after Woodcock removed a fuse and cut power to his neighbour’s apartment so an allegedly “noisy house party” would end and the occupants would leave.

The jury had been deliberating for less than one hour when they asked Mr Justice Michael White if they could view CCTV footage again on the screens in the courtroom and not on the laptop which had been provided to them in their jury room.

“I will make the courtroom a jury room for the amount of time you want to view the CCTV footage,’ said Mr Justice White, adding that no one could be present in the courtroom during this time.

The courtroom was cleared and the judge ordered a garda to stay outside the main door of court six and not to let anyone inside.

Shortly after midday, the forewoman of the jury asked the judge if she could hand up a piece of paper which contained some questions. The judge read out one of the questions to the court, which asked: “Were there any fingerprints found on any of the knives?”

Addressing the jury, Mr Justice White said that Watson’s fingerprints were not found on the blade which was removed from O’Connor’s body.

The judge also reminded the jury that Garda Damien Carroll gave evidence that Watson’s fingerprints were not found on any of the knives. “There was no other evidence about fingerprints in the trial,” he added.

Garda Carroll testified that he recovered a black-handled knife from a building near Grattan Wood apartment complex in Donaghmede as well as three knives from a black Honda Civic car. No fingerprints belonging to Watson were found on these knives, said Garda Carroll.

Shouting

The trial has previously heard that one group – which included Mr Woodcock and the deceased Warren O’Connor – left Grattan Wood apartment complex in a Ford Focus car on the night before it was rammed by another group – which included Mr Watson – driving the Honda Civic

Before lunchtime, the forewoman of the jury further asked the judge for evidence to be read over again. Mr Justice White spent the afternoon reading Gary Foy’s evidence in full and a summary of evidence from three other witnesses.

Foy gave evidence in the trial that he looked out his bedroom window on the night when he heard shouting coming from Hole in the Wall Road. My Foy said he heard a man wearing a white hoodie say “get that into you” and saw him make a stabbing motion towards another man’s chest during a row.

After the evidence was read, the jury agreed when the judge asked them if it was alright to suspend deliberations for the day as it was nearly 3.55pm. He gave them the option of resuming deliberations tomorrow but the jury decided to return to court tomorrow morning instead.

“You’re at a very sensitive time in this trial, you can’t speak to anyone about this or go on any form of social media. Enjoy your weekend and I’ll see you again on Monday morning,” warned the judge.

Mr Justice White then sent the jury of seven men and five women home after two hours and 47 minutes of deliberations.

The judge said in his charge that there were two verdicts the jury could return in relation to the murder charge, namely; guilty or not guilty.

Furthermore, he told the jurors that they must be unanimous in their decision in respect of the three counts.

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