Witness to fatal Kilkee stabbing accepts accused did not take knife which killed friend to scene

Ruaidhrí Giblin

Reporter:

Ruaidhrí Giblin

The scene of the fatal stabbing at the Marian Estate in Kilkee

The scene of the fatal stabbing at the Marian Estate in Kilkee

A MAN involved in an encounter with three men before his cousin was fatally stabbed in Kilkee has accepted that the man on trial for his murder did not take the knife which killed him to the scene. 

Robbie Walsh, 23, from Island View, Kilrush, Co Clare, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Karl Haugh, 25, in the Marian Estate in Kilkee, Co Clare on August 6, 2017.

Mr Haugh’s cousin, Sam Lucey, gave evidence before a Central Criminal Court jury on Tuesday that he and Mr Haugh encountered Robbie Walsh, the accused, and two of his cousins near his house, following heated phone conversations earlier.

Mr Lucey told Patrick Gageby SC, prosecuting, that he and Mr Haugh had taken a golf club each to confront the three Walshs. Mr Lucey said he also took a knife from his kitchen after seeing the accused, along with Clinton Walsh and Mitchell Walsh running around his estate.

The jury has heard that the altercation immediately followed the vandalism of a Volkswagen Passat under the misapprehension that it belonged to Karl Haugh.

Mr Lucey said the knife he had taken from his kitchen fell out of his pocket when one of the Walshs came at him with what looked like a metal bar.

Under cross examination from Brendan Grehan SC, for the defence, Mr Lucey accepted that the knife which caused the fatal stabbing had come from his kitchen. 

Mr Lucey denied that Karl Haugh had a knife during their encounter with the Walshs or that it came from the same block of knives. 

It was put to him that the block of five knives had only three knives in it when it was seized by gardaí. Mr Lucey said he did not know where the other knife was: ”I think my mother said it (the other knife) was in the wash," Mr Lucy said.

Mr Grehan asked whether he accepted it was Robbie Walsh who stabbed Karl, as the prosecution allege. Mr Lucy said he didn't know.

Mr Grehan put it the witness that “it wasn't Robbie Walsh who brought the knife to the scene”.

“No,” Mr Lucey said. 

Conor Murphy gave evidence to Mr Gageby, for the prosecution, that he was the first of his group to arrive at the scene to join Karl and Sam moments before the altercation. He said he could see the Walshs approaching all of them "roaring and shouting”. 

Mr Murphy said Mitchell Walsh had a knife while Clinton and Robbie Walsh had bars or pipes.

He said Clinton Walsh came at him with a bar and he put his hands up to protect himself before being hit. 

He said Karl Haugh fell down in front of him although he didn’t seem him being “stuck” or stabbed.

Under cross examination from Mr Grehan, for the defence, Mr Murphy said the Walshs were “dangerous people, we know them from around” and were “capable of doing anything”. 

Mr Murphy said he had not drank much that night and he had no axe to grind with the Walshs, “I don’t know why they attacked us”. 

He accepted under cross examination from Mr Grehan that at no stage did he see Robbie Walsh, the accused, with a knife. 

When asked if he thought Robbie Walsh, the accused, stabbed the deceased, Mr Murphy said he didn’t see him do it. 

The jury also heard evidence of text messages sent from Robbie Walsh’s phone in the aftermath of the incident. 

Garda Robert Wilson told Michael Hourigan BL, prosecuting, that the accused sent a text message at approximately 7am that morning to say the deceased had been stabbed “by me”. 

In another text, the accused told the same person: “10 of them jumped one of the boys so we all went back together. He got it in his lung with his own knife”. 

Opening the prosecution’s case on Monday, Patrick Gageby SC, for the DPP, said an altercation occurred between the Walshs and the “Haugh faction” in an area at the back of the housing estate where cars are generally parked.

Mr Gageby said it followed the vandalism of a Volkswagen Passat “under the apprehension I think that it belonged to Karl Haugh which it didn’t”.

“During the course of the altercation, Robbie Walsh was engaged with Karl Haugh and he stabbed Karl Haugh in the back with a knife, a single penetrating wound,” Mr Gageby said. 

Robbie Walsh was arrested the following morning and “freely admitted he stabbed Karl Haugh and expressed remorse”. Robbie Walsh’s admissions and remorse “continued through interviews which you [the jury] will hear,” Mr Gageby said. 

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