Knife ‘heavily stained’ with dead man’s blood found in accused’s kitchen, court told

Jury heard 999 call made by accused Dean Kerrie in which he said deceased Jack Power had come ‘in the front door at him’ and tried to hit him

STOCK: The Courts of Criminal Justice on Parkgate St. Dublin
Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times
The Criminal Courts of Justice Exterior view

A knife “heavily stained” with the blood of a fisherman who was stabbed to death after entering the home of a then-teenage boy was found in the accused’s kitchen, while a knife recovered from the hallway contained no blood, a Central Criminal Court murder trial has heard.

The jury has already heard a 999 call made by the accused Dean Kerrie at 3.44am on July 26th, 2018, in which the teenager said the deceased Jack 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.

Eye witness 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 to the jury, prosecution counsel Michael Delaney SC said the accused was asked about the knife and told gardaí that it was on the floor in his hall. Mr Delaney said Mr Kerrie was asked several times by gardaí not to touch the knife and the accused said he wouldn’t. 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 26th, 2018, when he was 17.

Giving evidence, Det Sgt Melissa Lyons from the fingerprint section of An Garda Síochána told Michael Delaney SC, prosecuting, that she found a black and white handled Swiss Line knife on a mat in the hallway of Shanakiel.

Det Sgt Lyons said a number of knives were also found on the draining board adjacent to the sink in the kitchen.

The witness said one knife was resting on top of another knife. The knife on top was a black and white handled bread knife and had the same coloured handle as the knife that was found in the hallway, she said.

Det Sgt Lyons said the knife underneath was a large knife with a black handle and had a blood-like substance on it. A palm mark was also located on the handle of the knife but it had insufficient ridge characteristics to allow it to be compared with any other palm marks.

She also said a wooden leg belonging to a broken wooden chair located in the hallway of the house was found in the attic.

Det Garda Janette O’Neill, who went to the accused’s house at Shanakiel after the incident, said she observed that most of the front windows were broken. “They were broken from the outside in,” she added.

Det Gda O’Neill said she took swabs from the blade and handle of the knife in the hallway but no blood was found on it.

She said the lower of the two knives found on the draining board in the kitchen was “heavily bloodstained”. The blade of the knife contained Mr Power’s blood, the witness said.

Referring to the upturned chair with the missing leg in the hallway, Det Gda O’Neill said the damage appeared to be recent. She said another detective had found the leg of the chair in the attic and he could physically fit the leg to the chair.

There were two contact blood smears on the chair, one on the back and the other underneath the seat, she said.

Under cross-examination, Det Gda O’Neill agreed with defence counsel Ciaran O’Loughlin SC that the contact marks found on the chair in the hallway belonged to the accused’s mother, Ann Fitzgerald.

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

The trial continues on Thursday before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of six men and five women.