Last witness in trial of man accused of 1997 double murder is cross-examined by prosecutors

Mark Nash
Mark Nash

The last witness in the trial of a man accused of a 1997 double murder is being cross-examined by prosecutors at the Central Criminal Court this afternoon.

Mark Nash (42), who has last addresses at Prussia Street and Clonliffe Road in Dublin, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the murder of Sylvia Shields (60) and Mary Callanan (61) between March 6 and March 7, 1997.

The trial has heard the two women were living in sheltered accommodation in a house attached to St Brendan’s Psychiatric Hospital in Grangegorman at the time.

Last Friday defence counsel Mr Hugh Hartnett SC  called the second and last of his witnesses; Dr Philip Avenell, a doctor of philosophy and forensic scientist who has worked on high profile cases on body fluids and DNA profiling.

Today counsel for the state, Mr Brendan Grehan SC continued his cross examination from Friday afternoon of Dr Avenell.

Dr Avenell previously told the court he has been involved in several hundred criminal investigations and cold cases within the forensic world including the Stephen Lawrence murder case and the Coastal Path murders.

Mr Grehan asked Dr Avenell to specify when contamination became an issue in the case currently before the court.

Dr Avenell said it became more significant when he realised two examinations were carried out in room 3.6 in Forensic Science Ireland (FSI).

The jury previously heard that a jacket belonging to the accused and heavily blood stained clothing and bedding found at the scene were examined in the same room at the laboratory six weeks apart.

The trial continues.

Alison O'Riordan