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Court hears fight over bag of heroin lead to stabbing death

Court hears fight over bag of heroin lead to stabbing death

Addicts sharing a bag of heroin became embroiled in a fatal argument when one failed to find a vein to inject the drug into the other, the Central Criminal Court heard today.

Peter Jackson, (41), formerly of Kerryhall Road, Fairhill, Co Cork has pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty of the manslaughter of Wexford man David Hamilton (31), at a house on Kerryhall Road on May 4, 2012.

Prosecution counsel Thomas O'Connell (SC) told the jury of ten men and two women that the accused man was trying to inject Mr Hamilton having already injected heroin into himself.

He continued: "He had difficulty finding a vein and this led to an argument and the upshot of this was that Mr Jackson picked up a knife and he plunged the knife in to Mr Hamilton's chest."

The court heard evidence from Mr Jackson's former girlfriend, Pamela McHale (26), from Cork City. Ms McHale told the court that she met up with Peter Jackson early on May 4, 2012 and they went into Cork city to "score heroin".

They bought two bags worth e50 each and then met Mr Hamilton, who she said was "strung out" because it was difficult to find heroin that day. He asked them if they could get some heroin for him and Mr Jackson offered to share the bags they had already bought. The three got a taxi together to a house that then belonged to Pat Fennelly on Kerryhall Road, Fairhill, Cork.

An argument started after Mr Jackson had cooked up the first bag of heroin and injected himself and Ms McHale but had difficulty finding a vein to inject Mr Hamilton.

Ms McHale said: "Dave was giving out and Peter was like "calm down" but Dave wanted to go to another fella's house who he said could inject properly."

They began smoking the second bag on a piece of tinfoil but Ms McHale said Mr Hamilton became increasingly agitated and wanted to take the heroin to the other house so that he could inject.

"Peter and Dave got in a fight," she said. "He was trying to pull the foil off Peter and Peter gave him a dig and Dave gave Peter a dig. Peter picked something up from the table and he swung."

At the time she did not see what Mr Jackson had picked up and she said Mr Hamilton left the room and became hysterical. It was some minutes before she noticed that there was "blood everywhere, like a scene from a horror film" and that his shirt was soaked with blood. It was around this time that she became aware of the knife that had been used to stab Mr Hamilton.

The court heard evidence from the home owner Pat Fennelly that in the panic, he got them to move Mr Hamilton out of the house and onto the street. Ms McHale then phoned an ambulance but gave a false name.

When gardai arrived she did not tell them what had happened but the following day decided to come forward. The court heard that Mr Jackson initially claimed he did not know the victim and that he had found him lying on the ground. Gardai became suspicious when they saw a trail of blood leading to the house and Mr Jackson later admitted his part in the assault.

Mr Hamilton died three days later, on May 7.

Counsel for the defence Dominic McGinn SC described Mr Jackson as a "calm man, a gentleman" and Ms McHale agreed. She also agreed that "Dave was the person causing the trouble."

She said that Mr Jackson had told her to call an ambulance and tried to get Mr Hamilton to calm down and described the incident as a "tragic accident". 

Prosecuting counsel Mr O'Connell explained that by pleading guilty to manslaughter Mr Jackson had already admitted that he was responsible for the killing and that it was unlawful. He added that to be found guilty of murder, it is up to the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he intended to kill or cause serious harm to Mr Hamilton.

The trial continues before a jury and Justice Isobel Kennedy at the Central Criminal Court on Friday.