Murder trial | 

Man accused of murdering estranged wife's boyfriend reached for knife 'as a last resort', court told

The accused's wife Candice Paget has given evidence that her "jealous" boyfriend Aidan McMenamy was stabbed to death after he slashed her estranged husband, Anthony Paget in the face with a knife
Candice Paget, pictured leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) on Parkgate Street in Dublin

Candice Paget, pictured leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) on Parkgate Street in Dublin

Alison O’Riordan

A man accused of murdering his estranged wife's boyfriend reached for a knife as "a last resort" when faced with serious injury and was "entitled to meet fire with fire", his defence barrister told a jury at the Central Criminal Court .

Evidence has been given that the accused man Anthony Paget stabbed Aidan McMenamy seven times in the neck and back, causing his death.

His counsel also told the jury that the prosecution's response of "No, no, no" to the three defences of self-defence, intoxication and provocation reminded him of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's "Out! Out! Out!" moment in the 1980's.

The accused's wife Candice Paget, who was the third person in the house on the night, has given evidence that her "jealous" boyfriend Mr McMenamy was stabbed to death after he slashed her estranged husband, Mr Paget in the face with a knife.

Mr Paget (46) of Carnlough Road, Cabra, Dublin 7 has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter for the killing of Mr McMenamy (45) at Clinch's Court, North Strand Road, Dublin 3 in the early hours of July 19, 2019.

Addressing the jury this evening, prosecution counsel Bernard Condon SC said the issue in the case was whether Mr Paget had intentionally killed Mr McMenamy and they would be told that they can approach the case by looking at three defences, namely self-defence, intoxication and provocation.

Mr Condon said that Mr Paget's level of intoxication on the night had not impeded his ability to form an intention and the evidence in the case did not lend itself to self-defence.

Counsel submitted that he also said "no when it comes to a suggestion that this man was so provoked that he lost all self-control."

He said there was no reality to the defence of provocation being suggested, where CCTV footage showed that Mr Paget had the presence of mind to move the knife very deliberately from his left hand into his right hand so he could wield the knife into the deceased's neck, the area where it would do the most damage.

Mr Condon reminded the jury to pay attention to the "raw facts" of the case, where six deep stab wounds were inflicted into the back of Mr McMenamy. "That strikes self-defence off the list," he continued, adding that the accused's behaviour was not consistent with somebody who thought that such force was reasonable.

The lawyer told the jury to consider that Mr Paget had told a member of Dublin Fire Brigade in the hospital on the night that "if someone cuts my face they will end up in Glasnevin". Mr Condon said that everyone was familiar with Glasnevin Cemetery and asked the jury to consider if this was consistent with a man not being able to form an intention.

The barrister drew the jury's attention to the taps running at Clinch's Court and to the "clean up job" taking place, when gardai arrived on the night. "Is that consistent with a man exercising a defence of self defence?" he asked. If Mr Paget was rendered incapable by his intake of intoxicants that night then why was he washing clothes and attempting to clean up the scene after the incident, he asked.

The accused's interviews were "filled with lies" and he would not admit it was him in the CCTV footage when it was played to him by gardai, said Mr Condon. "That is the level of self-serving dishonesty that was being engaged in by Mr Paget and it is not consistent with any of these defences that you might have to consider," he stressed.

Retaliation is not self-defence, he explained, and it does not give one a licence to kill somebody with six stab wounds to the back. The law requires you to exercise restraint and there was ample opportunity for Mr Paget to avoid the confrontation, he said. "Whoever started the fight, Mr Paget certainly put an end to it," he indicated.

Mourners flank the coffin of Aidan McMenamy after his funeral mass

Mourners flank the coffin of Aidan McMenamy after his funeral mass

Going through the evidence in the trial, Mr Condon said that this case was really about "drunken rage" and people must be responsible for their actions. When the accused told gardai in his interviews that he did not stab the deceased, Mr Condon said this was a "self-serving way" of avoiding responsibility and he asked the jury to return a verdict of murder.

Closing the defence case, Michael Bowman SC told the court that Mr Condon seemed to have forgotten that the deceased had a six-inch blade intentionally strapped to the inside of his right wrist on the night and had charged at his client.

"It is in black and white who started the row and Mr McMenamy had persisted with it," he argued. Mr Paget was not a man with murder in his mind that night and the injuries to his finger confirmed it was a defensive wound, he said.

Mr Bowman said whilst it was undoubtedly the case that Mr Paget was not truthful or coherent in his interviews, could it really be said that they were self-serving. "The interviews are reflective of a state of mind from years of drug abuse. If he is self-serving surely to god he would have come up with a self-serving set of events," he said.

Mr Bowman told the jurors that maybe Mr Paget lied in his interviews because his life experience has taught him that he was not going to be believed if he was to tell the truth and he needed to be wary of a system that viewed him in a certain way because he is a compromised individual. "Maybe he lies for any other number of reasons," he added.

He noted that these events had occurred at around 3.45am on the back end of a long, hard day of substance abuse.

Mr Bowman said that Mr Condon's "no, no, no" in regards to the three defences reminded him of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's "Out! Out! Out!" moment in the 1980's, when she was negotiating the Anglo-Irish Agreement between the UK and the Republic of Ireland which aimed to bring an end to the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Regarding the defence of intoxication, the defence counsel said his client was highly intoxicated on the night and had been smoking crack cocaine.

Counsel went on to tell the jury that self-defence "loomed large in the case" and he had been punched and slashed by the deceased man resulting in him bleeding profusely from his face.

Mr Bowman suggested that the utterance about "Glasnevin" had no function or basis in reality.

He submitted that his client was entitled to be convicted of manslaughter, which he had pleaded guilty to and any reasonable viewing of the CCTV footage showed that Mr Paget reached for the knife not as a first resort or a second one but as "a last resort", when he was facing injury to his vital organs. "He is entitled to meet fire with fire," he said.

Addressing the claim that the accused was trying to clean up the scene, Mr Bowman said Mr Paget was not engaging in a calculated and deliberate attempt to evade justice by mopping the blood up and ringing it out in the sink.

He said there must be a doubt in this case as to a conviction for murder and urged the jury to bring in a verdict of manslaughter.

Mr Paget's wife Candice Paget told his trial on Wednesday that a fight broke out between the two men because Mr McMenamy was "jealous" that she was spending so much time with her estranged husband and thought they might be having an affair.

She said Mr McMenamy threatened to cut Mr Paget's throat and then produced a knife which he used to slash Mr Paget's face. The pair then went outside for a "knock", she said, where Mr McMenamy suffered the stab wounds that led to his death.

The trial continues tomorrow, when Ms Justice Eileen Creedon will deliver her charge to the jury of six men and six women.

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