Prosecuting QC Neil Connor told the jury how the alleged killer remained silent for 15 months after he allegedly stabbed Brian Phelan in the neck and chest
Opening the Crown case against 30-year-old Daniel Carroll on the first day of his trial at Newry Crown Court, prosecuting QC Neil Connor told the jury how the alleged killer remained silent for 15 months after he allegedly stabbed Brian Phelan in the neck and chest.
In a defence statement filed in October 2019 however, the 30-year-old claimed that three men unidentified men had “suddenly appeared” from over Camlough mountain and launched a murderous attack on Mr Phelan, warning Carroll to “stay out of it” before they fled the scene.
He further claimed that having gotten into the victim’s blue Peugeot car, offered to taking a bleeding Mr Phelan to the hospital but he refused and Carroll fled the scene “in a panic.”
“It’s the prosecution case, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the existence and presence of these three men are an invention by the defendant,” declared Mr Connor, “dreamt up by him over a period of 15 months since his arrest to try and explain away the incontrovertible evidence that points fairly and squarely at him as the person who stabbed Mr Phelan.”
Carroll, from Edward Street in Portadown, denies the single charge of murder on 26 July 2018.
With Mr Phelan’s mother sitting in the public gallery and other relatives watching the trial by videolink, Mr Connor told the jury that over the course of the trial they would hear evidence that Mr Phelan, a 33-year-old father-of-two, had gone to meet Carroll on the Carrivekeeney Road to buy quad bikes but ended up being stabbed in the neck and chest and left to bleed to death in the garden of a nearby property.
As he lay bleeding, the jury heard that Mr Phelan was able to call 999 himself but that he also called his girlfriend and kept saying “i’m dying’ and asked her to come to him,” said Mr Connor adding that “he sounded as if he was choking.”
“We say that once you have heard all of the evidence in the case, you will have no hesitation in finding the accused guilty on the sole count on the bill of indictment, the murder of Mr Phelan,” the lawyer concluded his opening.