Two had blood on clothing after assault, murder trial told

Dale Creighton killing: Graham Palmer and Aisling Burke had stained clothes, says garda

The trial of seven Dubliners charged with murder has heard that two of them had blood on their clothing shortly after a group was seeing fleeing a bridge where 20-year-old Dale Creighton was found unconscious.

The jury was hearing evidence today from the first garda­ on the scene in Tallaght on New Year's morning, 2014.

Dale Creighton died in hospital on January 2nd, 2014. The incident had taken place at the footbridge over the Tallaght bypass between Saint Dominic’s Road and Greenhills Road.

A woman and six men, who are in their 20s and from Tallaght, have all pleaded not guilty to murder. They went on trial at the Central Criminal Court on Tuesday.

They are 23-year-old Aisling Burke and 28-year-old David Burke, both with a current address at Beechpark, Collinstown, Co Westmeath; Graham Palmer (26), with a current address at Park Avenue, Portarlington, Co Laois; Ross Callery (23), currently of Gortlum Cottages, Brittas, Co Dublin; James Reid (26), currently of Glen Aoibhinn, Gorey, Co Wexford; Jason Beresford (23), with an address at Coill Diarmuida, Ard a' Laoi, Castledermot, Co Kildare; and Gerard Stevens (27), currently of Grosvenor Square, Rathmines in Dublin.

Change in plea

Each accused also initially pleaded not guilty to violent disorder at the footbridge that New Year’s Day. However, Jason Beresford changed his plea on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to the violent disorder charge.

Garda Jennifer Walsh was working in Tallaght Garda station shortly before 4am that New Year's Day, when a call came in about an incident on the footbridge.

She testified that she began watching a live feed of what was happening in the station’s CCTV control room. She said she was able to adjust the camera and the jury was shown the footage, which showed that someone had zoomed in on what was happening.

“I saw a number of males and females on the bridge and a man on the ground,” she recalled.

She said she alerted a local patrol car and called an ambulance.

She said she saw her colleagues arrive and members of the group leave the bridge.

“I tried to follow them with a different camera,” she said, confirming that her focus shifted to Main Street.

Garda Avril Sharpe also watched some of the live feed in the CCTV room. She testified that she saw a number of males along with a female in a short, white jacket. She and two colleagues left for the bridge when they saw that there was a person on the ground.

She said the group left as she and her colleagues climbed the steps of the bridge, where they saw legs hanging.

“We stopped and observed a male. He was unconscious, not responding to us and badly beaten up,” she recalled. “His eyes were badly swollen, he had blood all over his face, blood coming from his eyes and very laboured breathing.”

A colleague stayed with the injured man while she and another garda ran after the group onto Main Street.

“We observed a male and then a female turn right,” she said. “She was wearing a white, fur jacket, skirt and runners. She was running. We followed her.

“The male came back to the female and they were holding hands,” she continued, confirming that they were walking at this stage.

‘Tried to flag taxi’

“We shouted at them to stop,” she said. “They tried to flag down a taxi but it didn’t stop.”

She said the two eventually stopped for them.

She said the male gave his name as Graham Palmer.

“There were blood spots on his face, which he couldn’t account for,” she said. “There was blood on the sleeves of his jacket.”

The female gave her name as Aisling Burke.

“I looked at her clothing and concluded she was the girl I had seen in CCTV,” she said. “Her runners were soaked in blood and she had muck on her jacket. She couldn’t account for the blood.”

Garda Sharpe said Ms Burke informed her she had been mugged in a park a half hour before that and pointed to the muck. She arrested her for suspected assault.

The garda identified her runners in court, confirming she had seized them due to the blood on them.

She also identified a navy jacket in court.

“That’s the jacket Graham Palmer was wearing,” she said, explaining that she had seized this due to the blood on it.

She then pointed out the people she said were Ms Burke and Mr Palmer on the footage.

The court heard Graham Palmer was also arrested at that point and that James Reid was arrested at an address in Tallaght the following day.

The trial will continue on Friday morning before Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy and a jury of six men and six women.