Murder accused insisted he had not travelled to north Dublin on morning body found, court told

Michael Kurek was found lying face down in a country lane in Ballyboughal with 62 stab wounds

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

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

 

A murder accused insisted to gardaí that he had not travelled to north Co Dublin on the same morning that the body of his homeless friend was found there, a jury has heard.

The trial has already heard evidence that the accused man’s phone made a data connection at a cell site near Ballyboughal in north county Dublin at 00.53 on the morning Michael Kurek’s body was discovered, while the deceased’s phone also utilised a cell site at Ballyboughal at 00.52 on the same morning.

The jury also heard evidence on Tuesday that the lower amount of DNA in a mixed profile taken from Mr Kurek’s Nokia phone matched the DNA of the accused Sebastian Barczuk.

The jurors spent Tuesday morning listening to the final Garda interview in the Central Criminal Court trial of Mr Barczuk (32), who is charged with murdering Mr Kurek (33) over three years ago.

Mr Barczuk of Briarwood Lawn, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15 has pleaded not guilty to murdering the Polish national at a place unknown within the State between August 3rd and 4th, 2017.

Mr Kurek, a homeless man with addiction difficulties, was found lying face down in the gateway of a country lane in Ballyboughal with 62 stab wounds to his body, including 25 knife wounds to his back on the morning of August 4th. A Nokia 105 mobile phone was located in the right hand pocket of the deceased’s jeans and the handset was still powered on.

Evidence has been given that a cyclist discovered the deceased’s body lying next to a gateway in the Grange area of Ballyboughal on the morning of August 4th. Former Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis has testified that Mr Kurek died from “multiple stab wounds and with a contributory factor of blunt-force trauma to the head and chest”.

Giving evidence on Tueday , Sergeant Adrian Mulligan told prosecution counsel Carl Hanahoe BL that he conducted the fifth and final interview with Mr Barczuk at Balbriggan Garda Station on April 5th, 2018.

Detectives put it to Mr Barczuk that they had previously shown him evidence of his phone travelling to Ballyboughal as well as him being in Ballyboughal at 00.55 on the morning of August 4th, when Mr Kurek’s phone was also there. “I haven’t been there,” he replied.

Gardai also put it to the accused that he had gone to Ballyboughal that night and murdered Mr Kurek. “That’s not me,” he said.

Detectives suggested to Mr Barczuk that he had stabbed the deceased 62 times. “That’s not me,” he insisted. The defendant denied being in Ballyboughal and said he did not kill his friend.

Gardai put it to the accused that he had stabbed his former flatmate in the lungs, liver, kidney and small intestines. “This is not me,” he said. When gardai asked who it was, Mr Barczuk said: “Not me”. When asked why he was in Ballyboughal on the night, the accused said he was “never there”.

Gardai told the defendant that all the evidence pointed to the fact that he and Mr Kurek had travelled the journey to Ballyboughal together on the night of August 3rd. “Not me,” he replied.

When asked by detectives if he could see how it looked, Mr Barczuk said: “I don’t know. I’m not a specialist.”

When gardai asked the accused why his Fiat Punto was in Ballyboughal at the same time his phone was there as well as Mr Kurek’s phone, Mr Barczuk replied: “No”.

The accused told detectives that he did not know if Mr Kurek was killed in the car and he had got rid of the Fiat Punto because he did not need it.

Last week, the jury viewed a montage of CCTV footage of a blue Fiat Punto travelling from the Clonsilla Inn at 9.18pm on August 3rd, through Lispopple Cross in Co Dublin at 00.19 and past Drishogue in Oldtown, Co Dublin at 00.56 on the morning of August 4.

The jury previously heard evidence from Ms Ewa Raczka, who told prosecuting counsel Lorcan Staines SC that on August 2nd, 2017 — two days before the discovery of Mr Kurek’s body — she sold Mr Barczuk a Fiat Punto.

Detectives asked the defendant in his final interview if he had any remorse for his friend. “I didn’t do anything,” he replied.

“Do you care that he is dead?” asked gardai. “Obviously,” Mr Barczuk replied. The accused said he did not have time to go to his friend’s funeral.

When asked by gardai if there was anything else he wanted to ask or tell them, Mr Barczuk said: “I’m innocent”.

When detectives concluded the interview by asking the accused why he had travelled to Ballyboughal on the night of August 3rd, Mr Barczuk said: “I haven’t been there”. Following this, gardai asked the defendant if he had ever been in Ballyboughal and he said: “I do not remember such a thing”.

Sandra McGrath from Forensic Science Ireland told Mr Hanahoe that a DNA profile was generated from both the accused man and deceased. The witness said she carried out an examination on a number of crime scene exhibits including swabs from a Nokia mobile phone, which belonged to Mr Kurek. Ms McGrath said she obtained a mixed DNA profile belonging to two people from the swabs with the higher amount of DNA coming from Mr Kurek and the lower amount belonging to Mr Barczuk. “The finding of the mixed profile on the swabs from the mobile phone is a thousand million times more likely to have originated from Mr Kurek and Mr Barczuk rather than Mr Kurek and an unknown person,” she concluded.

Prosecution counsel Lorcan Staines SC told the jury in his opening speech that ultimately the question for them was “who did it” and not whether the deceased was murdered or not. Counsel said the prosecution cannot say where or why Mr Kurek was murdered and a murder weapon was never recovered. The prosecution has told the jury that it will be asked to use circumstantial evidence to convict Mr Barczuk.

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