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insanity defence Man with blood on his face accused of murdering daughter's partner told gardaí 'it's me you want'

The accused kept repeating the phrase 'I have killed the last of the seven saints'

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The Central Criminal Court in Dublin.

The Central Criminal Court in Dublin.

The Central Criminal Court in Dublin.

A man accused of murdering his daughter’s partner had blood splatter on his face when he called to a local garda station, where he later was heard to say "It's me that you want", the Central Criminal Court has heard.

The court also heard from the accused man's brother-in-law, who said that defendant Mark Whelan entered his flat soon after the alleged murder while he was topless and bloodied and had kept repeating the phrase: "I have killed the last of the seven saints."

Mr Whelan (48) of Castlecurragh Heath, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15 has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Noel Thomas Whelan, who was aged in his twenties, at an apartment at Castlecurragh Heath on March 30, 2019.

The opening day of the trial heard that although the victim and the accused were not related, they were known to each other as the deceased man was the partner of one of Mark Whelan’s daughters.

In his opening speech in the case, Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, said the jury may be asked to consider returning verdicts of not guilty by reason of insanity or of diminished responsibility because of evidence that the accused suffers from a mental disorder.

However, the barrister said the prosecution did not believe the accused was suffering from a mental disorder at the time as the background to the crime was that he had taken drugs.

Mr McGinn said the jury would be asked to concentrate on what was in the accused’s mind at the time of the killing and what his intention was.

Today, the court heard from forensic scientist Kirsten O'Connor, whose statement was read into the record by Mr McGinn. Ms O'Connor said that Noel Whelan had been stabbed multiple times and had died at the scene.

The witness said that a bag of clothes in the possession of Mark Whelan when arrested revealed the presence of Noel Whelan's DNA and his blood.

Garda Dwayne O'Brien told Mr McGinn that he was on duty on March 30, 2019, when a call went out to gardaí at 6.10pm about a male discovered at Castlecurragh Heath with cuts to his throat and who was not breathing.

A second call went out over the Garda system at 6.50pm advising that a Mark Whelan was a suspect in the offence and that he was sought in connection with the matter.

Gda O'Brien said that members were asked to exercise caution and that Mr Whelan had been seen in and around Finglas village in a black hoodie and grey tracksuit bottoms.

At 6.57pm, the witness was working in Finglas Garda Station's public office, when he saw a male in the public area with his hood up, acting in a "strange" manner and trying to open the internal station door, which requires the use of a key fob.

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Gda O'Brien said that he approached the male and asked him if he was ok. The witness observed that the male had blood on his clothing, hands and had blood spatter on his face.

Gda O'Brien said that he asked the male, who was carrying a Lidl bag of clothing, for his name and was told "Mark Whelan". However, the witness said the male then became unresponsive to other questions.

The garda arrested Mr Whelan, who had his bag of clothing seized. He was then searched and was found to have no weapons.

While in custody, Mr Whelan asked for a cup of tea and had a cigarette outside. When Gda O'Brien took the tea out to Mr Whelan, the accused said: "Sorry to Noel. I shouldn't have done that; cutting the throat. It's me that you want. I'm the bastard. I did that. Come out to me. I will give you a hug."

Gda O'Brien said that Mr Whelan continued: "You can stick the biggest blade in me. I love you and always loved you. I'm so sorry, Noel. Sorry for doing that and standing on your head. I'm such a fucking thick cunt. Sorry for stabbing you."

Gda O'Brien told Mr McGinn that Mr Whelan's words were not directed specifically at him but that he made a note of them and informed a sergeant.

Sergeant Selina Proudfoot told Mr McGinn that as member-in-charge at the station, Mr Whelan was in her care and that she regularly checked in on him with food and water during his detention.

Sgt Proudfoot said that a doctor had judged Mr Whelan as unfit for interview and his detention period was extended.

The witness said that Mr Whelan's clothes were taken for testing and he was given a white boiler suit to wear.

She said that on one occasion when she checked on him, Mr Whelan had the boiler suit open and had his erect penis out before she asked him to close the suit.

The sergeant said that Mr Whelan had twice requested water but had thrown it down the toilet.

Sgt Proudfoot said that while in his cell Mr Whelan had talked about "killing soldiers in combat", had requested cocaine from her and had "alleged that gardaí were going to try to harm him".

The witness added that when Mr Whelan asked for a cigarette, he said "I love ye all but my head's fucked up".

Sgt Proudfoot also said that an alarm went off in the interview room when Mr Whelan got angry and that when he was being led to his cell, he "grabbed the bottom of a female garda".

When the sergeant told him to stop, the accused said, "I can do what I want".

Mariano Parisella, who lived in Dromheath Grove near the defendant's home in Castlecurragh, said he was on the couch on the afternoon of March 30, when he heard a knock on the door. Mr Parisella's wife is a brother of Mr Whelan, who was let in.

Mr Parisella, who appeared by video-link from Italy, told Mr McGinn that the defendant had no top on and had "blood on his belly".

The witness said that Mr Whelan, who had blood on his tracksuit bottoms was repeatedly saying: "'I killed the last of the seven saints'. He kept saying it. He was making no sense."

Mr Parisella said that he gave Mr Whelan a shirt and trousers as requested before Mr Whelan was told to leave by Mr Parisella's son, who had just returned home. He said another son gave the accused a lift "towards Finglas".

The trial before Ms Justice Tara Burns and a jury of nine men and three women continues at the court on Monday.

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