Kilkee murder trial hears that witness did not see his cousin being stabbed in fight

Aoife Nic Ardghail

Reporter:

Aoife Nic Ardghail

The entrance to Marian Estate, where the stabbing took place in August 2017

The entrance to Marian Estate, where the stabbing took place in August 2017

A WITNESS has told a murder trial that he did not see his cousin being stabbed during a fight with three men.

Sam Lucey revealed this Tuesday that he and now deceased Karl Haugh had taken a golf club each to confront accused Robbie Walsh, 23, and two of his cousins, following earlier heated phone conversations.

Mr Lucey told Patrick Gageby SC, prosecuting, that he also took a knife from his kitchen after seeing the accused, Clinton Walsh and Mitchell Walsh running around his estate.

He told the court he noticed the men from his bedroom window and saw that one of them had a bar. He said he met Mr Haugh and they went to locate the Walshes in the estate.

Robbie Walsh, of Island View, Kilrush, Co Clare, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Haugh at the Marian Estate, Kilkee, Co. Clare, in the early hours of August 6, 2017.

Mr Lucey told Mr Gageby that he got separated from his 25-year-old cousin when they encountered the Walsh men and couldn’t really see him as it was dark.

He said he couldn’t remember everything that happened because the fight escalated quickly.

He said his knife fell out of his pocket when one of the men came at him with what looked like a bar.

Mr Lucey said he swung his golf club, but then another male started calling that Mr Haugh had been stabbed. The witness told Mr Gageby that the whole fight had lasted “only a couple of minutes”.

He said one of the Walsh men had had a bar and another had something “small enough” in his hand. Mr Lucey said after he heard his cousin had been stabbed, he went to him and saw him “keeled over, kind of crouched down, holding his back”.

He told the jury he called emergency services while he brought the injured man back to his home with another friend who had just arrived on the scene.

He said he woke his father up to continue the call before paramedics came. He described Mr Haugh as sweating, losing colour in his face and finding it hard to catch his breath.

Mr Lucey said he went with Mr Haugh by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick, but was told to wait while his cousin was brought to the emergency department. He said he didn't see Mr Haugh after that.

Mr Lucey described brief “pushing and shoving” between Mr Haugh and the accused’s cousin, Clinton, in an earlier incident that night. The witness said this was because of a phone call exchange between Mr Haugh and the Walshes.

Mr Lucey confirmed that he had video recorded these phone conversations, which were played to the jury.

Another witness, who is still a minor and can’t be identified, told Mr Gageby that the Walshes had used his phone to call Mr Haugh. This witness agreed with Brendan Grehan SC, defending, that the recordings suggested the Walshes had rung Mr Haugh looking to buy cocaine.

He accepted that in the conversations Mr Haugh repeatedly asked Mitchell Walsh why he was “offering him out on the road earlier”. The witness said he understood this phrase to mean that Mitchell Walsh had been calling Mr Haugh out to fight.

He agreed when Mr Grehan put it to him that Mitchell Walsh can be heard asking Mr Haugh if he wanted to be shot and his house blown up, to which the deceased replied he would love that.

The teenager further accepted that when Robbie Walsh got on the phone to Mr Haugh, he seemed to have been the calm one seeking to diffuse the situation. He accepted that the accused can be heard telling Mr Haugh that his cousins were “drunken eejits” and not to come out on the road.

The witness agreed that Mr Haugh had told the accused he would put his cousin out with one slap. He agreed he wasn't surprised by this as, Mr Haugh had been a strong man who had done weight training.

Earlier, Mr David Waldron, a consultant surgeon at Limerick University Hospital, said Mr Haugh’s condition deteriorated after being initially stabilised.

He told Mr Gageby that when he arrived at the operating theatre to perform surgery on Mr Haugh, the young man was not responding to resuscitation.

He agreed with Mr Grehan that the deceased man had been fully alert while sitting up talking to his family and reassuring them that he would be ok.

He explained that a clot which had formed in Mr Haugh's lung led to a sudden bleed and he deteriorated rapidly. He said he pronounced Mr Haugh dead at 5.20am after resuscitating for about an hour.

The trial continues before Ms Justice Carmel Stewart and a jury of seven men and five women.