Teen accused of murder planned to rob someone with a knife, court hears

The 16-year-old told gardaí: "I panicked and pulled the knife out of my pocket and stabbed her in the neck"
Teen accused of murder planned to rob someone with a knife, court hears

Ryan Dunne

A 16-year-old boy on trial accused of the murder of Mongolian national Urantsetseg Tserendorj, who died after being stabbed in the neck on her walk home from work, told gardaí he went out that night planning to rob someone with a knife.

“I panicked and pulled the knife out of my pocket and stabbed her in the neck. I done it. I didn't mean to do it. I'm sorry for it," the accused told gardaí.

On Thursday, counsel for the prosecution, Seán Guerin SC, presented the evidence of four garda witnesses at the trial of the accused, who cannot be named as he is a minor, in the Central Criminal Court.

Garda David O’Callaghan gave evidence that he attended the boy's home with a search warrant on January 21st, 2021, responding to a complaint of the theft of an electric pedal cycle.

He met with the accused’s grandmother, who informed Gda O’Callaghan that she had spoken to her grandson, and it was his intention to hand himself in.

Gda O'Callaghan confirmed the accused's grandmother appeared upset. The garda went upstairs and met the boy in his bedroom. When he met the garda, the teenager said: "I did it."

Gda O'Callaghan then cautioned him, and the accused continued to speak. The accused said: "I stabbed that girl. I robbed her. It was me. I stabbed that woman at the CHQ."

The accused was cautioned again later that evening and was asked to tell gardaí what happened.

The accused said: "I went out on a bike with a knife to rob someone. I saw a woman with a mask, and I tried to rob her. I panicked and pulled the knife out of my pocket and stabbed her in the neck. I done it. I didn't mean to do it. I'm sorry for it."

Robbery

In response to cross-examination by counsel for the defence, Michael O'Higgins SC, Gda O'Callaghan confirmed the accused's grandmother said the boy would hand himself in because "he had done something terrible".

Garda Mark Barry gave evidence that when he spoke with the grandmother at the house, she said she knew why gardaí were there and that it had to do with a robbing incident in which a woman had been stabbed. She said she was trying to get the teen to hand himself in.

Gda Barry confirmed the boy presented them with a jacket at the house, which was produced in court as a prosecution exhibit.

Mr O'Higgins said that when gardaí met with the accused’s grandmother, they were at slightly cross purposes. Gardaí were investigating the theft of an electric pedal cycle, but the accused's grandmother had just learned of his involvement in the stabbing of Ms Tserendorj.

Sgt Desmond Brannock gave evidence that the accused's grandmother was visibly upset on the day. "Granny was upset, and the accused was worried," he said.

In cross-examination, Mr Higgins said that in his original statement, Sgt Brannock had said both the accused and his grandmother had been upset.

Knives

Garda Karl Bolger gave evidence that on February 10th, 2021, during a search of the accused's home, a knife was found concealed in the sofa.

Defence counsel Mark Lynam BL asked Gda Bolger if he had also found butter knives. Gda Bolger replied that he located butter knives and a black and red-handled knife.

Mr Lynam asked if the cutlery drawer in the house had been missing both knives and forks, to which Gda Bolger replied it was.

"Did you find any forks in your search of the sofa?" asked Mr Lynam. Gda Bolger replied he had not.

Mr Lynam said that the accused's grandmother had said the forks were there too, and he asked Gda Bolger if he recalled this. Gda Bolger replied that he did not.

Garda Maria Harmon gave evidence that she spoke to the accused on January 23rd, 2021, and told her: "I did not mean to stab that woman. It was an accident. If I could sit in front of her now, I'd say I'm sorry."

The witness statement of Krysztof Klimczak, who worked as security at a homeless hostel on Amiens Street, was also read out in court by Mr Guerin.

Mr Klimczak said he saw "this guy" going up and down the street on a bicycle in "a very suspicious" way on the night of January 18th, 2021. Mr Klimczak said he saw the male again the following night - January 19th, 2021 - wearing the same jacket and riding the same bike.

On January 20th, 2021, Mr Klimczak was smoking outside the hostel when the male came up to him and asked him for a cigarette. "I could see his eyes were everywhere, I was sure he was on drugs. He couldn't concentrate," Mr Klimczak said.

He added that he saw the male put his hand into his pocket and pull out a knife just far enough to show him before he put the knife back into his pocket.

The witness described the knife as measuring about 25cm long with a chrome blade. The male then took off on his bike. "I have not seen this guy again since," Mr Klimczak said.

Ms Tserendorj was stabbed in the neck on a walkway between George’s Dock and Custom House Quay in the IFSC, Dublin on January 20th, 2021.

The accused has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ms Tserendorj but guilty to manslaughter on January 29th, 2021. He has also pleaded guilty to producing a knife and to attempting to rob Ms Tserendorj on January 20th, 2021.

The trial continues before a jury of six men and six women and Mr Justice Tony Hunt.

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