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Witness tells court that deceased insulted defendant's mother before attack

Central Criminal Courts
Central Criminal Courts

A WITNESS at the murder trial of Georgian man Badri Khvedelidze said Wednesday that the dead man insulted the defendant's mother moments before he was stabbed in the chest.

Givi Verdzeuli (66), now living in his native Georgia, took the stand at the Central Criminal Court where Mr Khvedelidze (33), formerly of Westward Court, Tralee, Co Kerry, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of fellow Georgian George Tkeshelashvili (57).

Mr Verdzeuli told prosecution counsel, Mr Tim O'Leary SC that the two men were embroiled in an argument on the afternoon of October 15, 2005 at Westward Court, Tralee when Mr Tkeshelashvili insulted Mr Khvedelidze's mother. "It is a big insult for us," he told the court, through an interpreter.

He described seeing Mr Tkeshelashvili push his open hand into the face of the defendant while another man tried to stand between them.

He added: "Badri said: "why are you cursing me?" And he hit him with his hand to the chest. I thought it was a punch but when he pulled his hand back the blood came like when you kill a pig, and then I saw the knife."

On the first day of evidence in the trial, Mr O'Leary went through the events of the morning and afternoon when Mr Tkeshelashvili died.

Mr Verdzeuli said he had spent much of the afternoon watching a French film in a friend's room at the hostel he shared with other asylum seekers in Tralee, Co Kerry.

Mr Khvedelidze, who was a roommate of Mr Verdzeuli at the time, invited him to play a game of cards but he refused because he was enjoying the film.

30 to 40 minutes later Mr Khvedelidze returned but now Mr Verdzeuli said he looked "pale and angry" and he soon left the room.

Mr Verdzeuli tried to follow him to ask what was wrong but his roommate was too quick for him. When he caught up, the argument with Mr Tkeshelashvili was already taking place. He said he saw Mr Khvedelidze strike Mr Tkeshelashvili in the chest and that he then saw "blood gushing" and "glanced" a knife in the defendant's hand.

After the incident he ran to get a towel to stop the flow of blood and when he returned Mr Tkeshelashvili was crouched on the ground. Somebody, he did not know who, called an ambulance, but Mr Verdzeuli and others present were concerned it would take too long so they got in a taxi. 

By the time they reached the hospital Mr Tkeshelashvili was unable to stand on his own. "He was getting cold and there was sweat on his forehead," said Mr Verdzeuli. "I told him nothing would happen and not to worry."

The trial continues Thursday October 22 in front of Justice Isobel Kennedy and a jury of six men and six women.