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Partner of man found dead in wardrobe denies she is making her evidence up

Barbara Staunton
Barbara Staunton

The partner of a man whose body was found in a wardrobe days after his killing has denied she is making her evidence up as she goes along.

Mr Padraig Dwyer SC, defending, put it to Barbara Staunton under cross examination that she initially told the jury she'd seen Anthony Locke (38) with the deceased's penis in his hand.

Ms Staunton agreed she never told gardai this in any of her interviews, but denied she was “making it up as you go along”.

Anthony Locke (38), with an address at Ramillies Road in Ballyfermot, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Christopher Jackson at his apartment on Prussia Street, between September 6th and 7th, 2012.

Ms Staunton accepted when Mr Dwyer put it to her that a post-mortem examination on Mr Jackson's body showed his penis had not been cut off.

The witness agreed she told gardai during one interview that she'd seen Anthony Locke with a pen knife and in another interview that he'd carried up to three steak knives.

She acknowledged that the two knives shown to her in court as exhibits were not pen knives or steak knives.

When Mr Dywer suggested she had a false memory of steak knives, Ms Staunton replied: “In my recollection there was steak knives.”

She accepted when counsel put it to her that she had given different accounts of what had happened that night, but denied it was to protect herself.

Ms Staunton agreed she had been suspected of concealing the body but had never been charged with any offence in this case.

She said she thought the body had been put outside but did have a "feeling" it was in the wardrobe.

"I wanted to get clothes out of the wardrobe, but I couldn't go near the wardrobe because the dog was sniffing around it", she said.

The witness told Mr Dwyer she couldn't recall hearing Bernard Locke threaten to stab the accused and put him in with the body.

The accused's cousin, Avril McMahon, told Mr Conor Devally SC, prosecuting, that she had been staying with the brothers that week.

She said the night of the incident she heard the two men leave the flat as she was going to bed.

She said saw Anthony Locke once when she woke during the night, but he told her to go back to sleep.

The next morning she said he told her he'd been “just buzzing around all night”.

Ms McMahon described “no change” in the men the next day as she socialised with them and Ms Staunton.

She said at one point she accompanied Ms Staunton to a nearby Tesco for more alcohol and a little later saw her and Bernard Locke kissing in the accused's flat.

She said Bernard Locke gave her two black eyes when she threw a tin of dog food at him for kissing Ms Staunton.

Ms McMahon told Mr Devally that she didn't socialise with Ms Staunton and her friends later as she didn't know the group and felt uncomfortable with her injured eyes.

She said she left the flat the following day when gardai arrived and a while later found out that Bernard Locke had been arrested.

This witness told Mr Devally that she met the Anthony Locke at a derelict house by the Phoenix Park and asked him what happened.

“Anthony didn't say what happened, he just said they done it,” Ms McMahon said.

She agreed with Mr Dwyer that she'd seen Ms Staunton and Bernard Locke had been hugging and kissing, after spending ten minutes in the bedroom “whispering”.

She described Ms Staunton's behaviour on the trip to the shop as “normal” and that the woman had been “laughing and all”.

She agreed Bernard Locke had punched Anthony Locke when he came to help her after she had thrown the dog food.

She explained she had been annoyed because she didn't want Ms Staunton giving Bernard Locke heroin.

Ms McMahon told Mr Dwyer that Ms Staunton had been “laughing and joking, nothing wrong with her”.

She agreed she didn't see who had left the accused's flat as she was going to bed.

Ms McMahon told Mr Devally in re-examination that she didn't hear any other sound in the flat after the door had been shut, when she assumed both men left.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of six men and six women.