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Accused and deceased "appeared to be laughing and joking" outside a chip shop, murder trial hears

Accused and deceased "appeared to be laughing and joking" outside a chip shop, murder trial hears

A murder trial jury has heard that the accused and deceased "appeared to be laughing and joking" outside a chip shop in the centre of a Kildare town on the night the deceased was killed.

Seamus Morgan (49) with an address at The Hollands, Athy, Co Kildare is charged with murdering Laurence Keane (56) in the town on July 19 2013.

On Monday at the Central Criminal Court Mr Morgan pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Keane.

This afternoon defence counsel Mr Sean Gillane SC asked prosecution counsel Ms Orla Crowe BL to read two statements to the court.

The first statement given to gardai by Ms Lisa Kaye was then read to the court by Ms Crowe.

In the statement the jury heard that Ms Kaye was driving past Macari's chip shop in Athy on July 18 2013 at 8.40pm.

"I saw Larry Keane and Jimmy Morgan sitting outside the chipper, they appeared to be laughing and joking," read Ms Crowe.

The second statement given to gardai by Mr Mario Panacci, the lease holder of Marcari's chip shop was then read to the court by Ms Crowe.

The court heard Mr Panacci was working in the chip shop on July 18 2013 when a man came into the shop at 10pm and asked him "could he leave a bike in the shop."

"It is not the first time (he asked to leave the bike in shop) and he did not buy food. I heard his name is Jimmy and he wears glasses. I know he is from Athy. Between 11.30pm and 12 midnight he came in and collected his bike. The bike was along the alley beside the shop.I think he had a Lidl bag with him when he called. He has never caused me any trouble in the shop," read Ms Crowe.

The court heard this concluded all the evidence in the case and tomorrow morning closing speeches will begin.

Mr Justice Robert Eagar said he will start his charge to the jury tomorrow but he did not propose to complete it until Monday, when the jury will go out to consider their verdict.

The trial continues.

Earlier today a forensic scientist has told a murder trial jury that blood stains found on a pair of runners belonging to the accused matched the DNA profile of the deceased.

Today prosecution counsel Mr Tom O'Connell SC called Detective Sergeant Sean Boland from Newbridge Garda Station to give evidence.

Det Sgt Boland told the court that on July 19 2013 he went to Seamus Morgan's house to carry out a search where a pair of runners were seized.
The court heard gardai at the time were also looking for "a weapon used to kill Mr Keane" but it was never found.

Det Sgt Boland told the court Mr Morgan was not arrested on that date but was arrested on July 25 when gardai went to his home and told him they were "arresting him on suspicion of the murder of Laurence Keane".

The court heard the accused was then taken to Kildare Garda Station where he was detained for a period of 24 hours and visited by his solicitor.

Det Sgt Boland agreed with Mr Tom O'Connell that the accused "denied killing Laurence Keane."

Det Sgt Boland also agreed with counsel that "Mr Morgan said things about his relationship with Mr Keane and he said when he left him in the lane-way he was still alive."

The witness also agreed with defence counsel Mr Sean Gillane SC that in the course of Mr Morgan's detention he told gardai "his differences with Mr Keane had been settled, he left Larry Keane at the top of the hill, Larry Keane had problems getting up the hill, there was no scuffle, he accepted he was in the lane-way but did not kill Larry Keane."

Det Sgt Boland agreed with prosecution counsel Mr O'Connell that on April 23 2014 Mr Morgan was "rearrested for the murder of Mr Keane" as new evidence "had come to light."

Forensic scientist Dr Hilary Clarke of the Forensic Science Lab was then called by the prosecution to give evidence and she told the court she received a number of physical exhibits relating to this investigation including a pair of runners belonging to the accused.

Dr Clarke told the court she received the runners on July 20 2013 in a sealed bag from the exhibits officer in the case.

"They were damp when I received them, I dried them overnight and sampled them the following day,” said Dr Clarke.

"There were small blood stains on both the left and right runner, the toe area of both runners and on the inner side of the tongue area of the left runner," she said.

 The court heard she developed a DNA profile from the sample of the blood stain from the toes of both runners and the tongue of the left runner which "matched the profile of Larry Keane."

"The estimated chance of finding this profile if the DNA had come from somebody other than Larry Keane is considerably less than one in a thousand million," said Dr Clarke.

The niece of Mr Keane, Ms Michele Keane who is also from Athy was then called to give evidence and she told the court on July 18 2013 she saw her uncle in the company of Seamus Morgan at Barrow Bridge when she drove by at 10.10pm.

The trial continues.