Desmond Coyle appeared in the Dublin Central Criminal Court this Thursday
A prosecutor has urged a jury to convict a Limerick murder accused, who “trespassed” into a man’s house with the knife that killed him, before confessing: “I stabbed him in the chest.”
The defence barrister argued that he had gone there to confront him and did not have the intention for murder.
The lawyers were giving their closing speeches this Thursday in the trial of a Limerick man, who told gardai that if the deceased had ‘stopped f***ing annoying me, it wouldn’t have happened’.
Desmond Coyle had explained that he had gone to the Romanian man’s house with a knife to ‘stop him demanding money’ off him.
The 60-year-old with an address at Davis Street in Limerick is on trial at the Central Criminal Court accused of murdering Calo Carpaci. He has pleaded not guilty to the 58-year-old’s murder at Roche’s Row in the city on May 24, 2017.
Anthony Sammon SC, prosecuting, noted that CCTV footage showed much of that day of Mr Coyle’s life up until an interval of 13 seconds ‘when he goes into, trespasses into the residence of the deceased, a totally unlawful entry and he brings with him this knife’.
He said that it was clear from DNA evidence that this was the knife, which killed the deceased.
He reminded the jury that, when they came back outside, Mr Coyle was restrained on the ground ‘by two good citizens, Eamon Hayes and Eric Hackett’.
He was then arrested and made a ‘forthright and complete confession’: “I stabbed him in the chest.”
Mr Sammon described this as a very important confession because it was said within moments of the event.
“They mean what they say,” he said of the words uttered.
He said that Mr Coyle had then lied about entering the house in interviews.
He described as fiction his account of knocking on the door, which was opened and that ‘the deceased impelled himself out, giving rise to this scenario of a tussle and accident where the knife somehow went into him’.
He urged the jury to reach a verdict of guilty in the case.
Mr Coyle’s barrister, Mark Nicholas SC, said that it was not in dispute that his client had brought the knife and held it, something he described as a poor decision.
He asked the jury to look at the reasons for that decision: The deceased was constantly asking him for money and this was a source of constant bother to him; he had nothing and wanted to be left alone.
“If you have a lovely life, … you can brush off people who are bothering you,” suggested the barrister. “But, when you don’t have much, it can eat away at you.”
He acknowledged that his client was bothered more than he ought to have been.
“Yes it was an inappropriate reaction but you have to see it in the context of his life,” he said. “He felt tormented, humiliated, bothered, niggled. There was always hassle.”
Mr Nicholas said he wasn’t making a case for provocation to reduce murder to manslaughter. However, this niggle, ‘almost like a dripping tap’, had worked at him.
“That accounts for that poor decision to go over to confront him when he had drink onboard,” he said of his client, who drank in early houses that morning. “The defence is that he went over to confront, not to kill or cause serious injury.”
Mr Nicholas argued that Mr Coyle did not have the necessary intent to commit murder.
“The pathologist could not discount that the injury could have happened in the dynamic struggle of two bodies in a tussle,” he noted.
He addressed the State’s contention that he had made a confession to the arresting garda.
“He’s saying he had the knife. He’s not saying he murdered him,” he argued. “Be careful relying on that as an admission of murder.”
Mr Nicholas also addressed what Mr Sammon had said were his lie about not entering the house, reminding the jury that his client had forgotten other things about the incident that would have helped his case.
He had been asked if he had wrestled with the deceased.
“No. I don’t think so,” he had replied. “I don’t think we came into contact. The knife was between us. There were no boxes thrown or anything.”
However, CCTV footage showed that they had wrestled after coming out of the house.
“That explains the mystery of how this happened,” suggested the barrister.
He said his client also had a ‘great opportunity to lie’, which he didn’t take, when asked if the deceased had assaulted or pushed him.
“No, he didn’t, he didn’t,” he’d replied. “He didn’t strike me or anything.”
Mr Nicholas said he would like to have heard from the two witnesses to the incident, the deceased man’s nephew and partner. However, they had ‘absented themselves’ ahead of the trial. He said that this created another wobble and asked if we were getting the whole story.
However, he said that the evidence, which we did have, came together in harmony with his client’s contention that he did not have intent. This included the pathology and the wrestle seen on CCTV.
“I’m not saying he’s entirely blameless but it’s not murder,” he concluded.