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Deceased threatened "to batter" accused following argument over switching television channels

Brian Veale
Brian Veale

A witness has told a murder trial that the deceased threatened "to batter" the accused following an argument over switching television channels in Cork Prison kitchen.

Brian Veale (31) of Dominic Street, Cork has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Graham Johnson at Cork Prison, Rathmore Road in Cork City on May 16, 2015.

Today Counsel for the State, Mr Tim O’Leary SC called Mr Patrick Heaphy, who was serving a sentence in Cork Prison in May 2015, to give evidence.

The witness told Mr O’Leary that he worked in the kitchen of Cork Prison and his main job was “cleaning up stuff.”

The court heard that there was an argument over switching television channels on the afternoon of May 16 between Mr Veale and Mr Johnson.

“Graham Johnson wanted to watch a horse race and Brian Veale wanted to watch soccer. Graham threatened Brian that he was going to batter him and he wanted him to step outside,” said Mr Heaphy.

The witness testified that the accused “looked scared” but the situation was diffused by a prison officer.

Mr Heaphy told the court that sometime after 5pm that same day he saw the accused “walk towards” Mr Johnson with a kitchen knife.

Mr Veale put his hand on Mr Johnson’s shoulder and “stuck” the knife in “the middle of his chest", he said.

“I heard a bone cracking, that was the sound,” said the witness.

The accused then threw the knife on the counter.

“I was shocked and I remember saying what are you doing but there was no reply from Brian,” he said.

Mr Heaphy agreed with Mr Tom Creed SC, defending Veale, that the accused was watching soccer on television when Mr Johnson came along and “demanded” to watch the racing.

“Mr Johnson stuck his head into Mr Veale’s face,” said the witness.

Mr Heaphy also agreed with Mr Creed that Mr Johnson said to the accused: "You are messing with the wrong boy."

The court heard Mr Veale was “white with fear” following the altercation.

“Mr Veale then left and Mr Johnson continued to watch the television,” he said.

The trial continues before Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy and a jury of seven men and five women. It is expected to last five days.