Waterford fisherman had been 'choking' man accused of his murder, court told

Dean Kerrie (20) has pleaded not guilty to murdering 25-year-old Jack Power at Shanakiel, Dunmore East, Co Waterford
Waterford fisherman had been 'choking' man accused of his murder, court told

Eoin Reynolds

An eyewitness has told a jury that a drunk fisherman entered the home of a then-teenager, who is now on trial for murder, and began choking him and telling him: "I'm going to kill you."

Witness Dylan Jones also described the prosecution's claim that Jack Power was leaving the house when Dean Kerrie stabbed him to death as "false", "complete lies", and a "conspiracy". He told prosecution counsel Michael Delaney SC: "This account is the truth and nothing but the truth. You are trying to make conspiracies of it, but I'm telling the whole truth."

Dean Kerrie (20) with an address at St Brigid's Square, Portarlington in Co Laois has pleaded not guilty to murdering 25-year-old Jack Power at Shanakiel, Dunmore East, Co Waterford on July 26, 2018. The accused was 17 years old at the time.

999 call

The jury has heard a 999 call made by Mr Kerrie at 3.44am on July 26th, in which the teenager said that Mr Power had come "in the front door at him" and tried to hit him. He said he had stabbed Mr Power in the chest with a kitchen knife but that he didn't mean to.

Eyewitness Christopher Lee, however, has denied that his best friend, Mr Power, forcibly pushed in the front door of the Kerrie house that night and said these were "lies" Mr Kerrie had to make up "to get away with it". Mr Lee has told the trial that Mr Kerrie "deliberately killed" Mr Power.

In his opening speech, Mr Delaney said that the jury would likely have to consider the issue of self-defence given the circumstances in which Mr Power entered the Kerrie house.

Mr Jones was called by the defence on Friday and told defence counsel Ciaran O'Loughlin SC that on the night of the stabbing he was staying at Mr Kerrie's home, something he did often that summer. That evening he fell asleep in Mr Kerrie's room while watching America's Got Talent and some time later he woke up and could hear people outside shouting, "you're dead, you're dead". He heard windows being smashed.

Brother's room

Mr Kerrie got up first and went to his brother's room. When the witness got up he said he saw a man he now knows to be Jack Power enter through the front door.

"He appeared to be drunk, he was kind of stumbling," he said. "He approached and pushed me against the wall and went into the bedroom and grabbed Dean." Mr Jones recalled seeing Mr Power "choking" Mr Kerrie and saying: "I'm going to kill you." Mr Kerrie, he said, was screaming, "please get off me," and Mr Jones said he told Mr Power: "Please get off him, he is only a child, leave him alone."

He added: "I thought he was going to kill Dean."

Mr Kerrie's mother, Ann Fitzgerald, was in the hallway next to the bedroom door when Mr Power grabbed her by the hair and "swung her side to side", he said. At this point, he said Mr Power stumbled backwards and then into the hallway and out the front door.

Mr Jones said he didn't see a knife and didn't see Mr Power being stabbed, but he accepted that it must have happened just before Mr Power stumbled backwards. He recalled Mr Kerrie saying: "I think I stabbed him, I need to call the guards." Mr Kerrie was "crying, in hysterics," he said.

Crowd

Mr Jones said he then looked out a window and saw a man coming down the street with a golf club, ready to swing it. He said he knew there were more people outside because he could hear them, so he ran to the front door to hold it closed.

He said people were trying to push in through the door and were shouting, "you're dead, you're dead". Mr Jones added: "I thought that night was going to be my last." He could hear windows being smashed around the house.

He said they tried to put Ms Fitzgerald in the attic "because we feared for her life". The first time he noticed a knife, he said, was when he saw one lying on the hall floor.

Michael Delaney SC, for the prosecution, asked if Mr Jones and Mr Kerrie had damaged Mr Power's car earlier that day. The witness said that was "false, none of us damaged his car".

Mr Delaney put it to him that his account of what happened was "completely untrue". Mr Jones responded: "This account is the truth and nothing but the truth. You are trying to make conspiracies but I'm telling the whole truth."

Mr Delaney suggested that what actually happened was that there was a scuffle in the bedroom, but Mr Kerrie left and went to the kitchen. "False, that didn't happen," the witness said. Mr Delaney continued that Mr Power was about to leave when Mr Kerrie came from the kitchen with a knife and called Mr Power back.

Mr Jones responded: "That's the biggest conspiracy, complete lies, what I said is the truth." He said the prosecution case "doesn't even make sense" and "did not happen". He added: "I have made several statements on this and I told the truth in every single one."

Mr Delaney said that what happened next was that Mr Power turned around when Mr Kerrie shouted and then Mr Kerrie stabbed him. "False," the witness replied.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott told the jury of six men and five women that the defence has one more witness to call on Monday and then the trial will enter the next phase.

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