'gone pale' | 

Witness breaks down in court telling of moment teen stabbed his best friend

Mr Lee said his friend Jack Power had entered the house of Dean Kerrie, who stands accused of murdering Mr Power

Dean Kerrie (20), from Portarlington, Co. Laois, leaving the Central Criminal Court, Dublin. Photograph: Collins Courts

Alison O'Riordan

An eye witness broke down today as he told a murder trial of the moment a teenager stabbed his best friend, who had entered the boy’s home in the early hours of the morning.

"Jack turned around to walk out [of the house] towards me. I was shouting at him, he didn't even acknowledge me, he had gone so pale. He went to walk past me as if I wasn't there," Christopher Lee told the trial at the Central Criminal Court this morning.

Mr Lee (29) was giving evidence today in the trial of Dean Kerrie (20), who is charged with murdering 25-year-old Jack Power nearly four years ago.

Mr Kerrie (20) with an address at St Brigid's Square, Portarlington in Co Laois has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Power at Shanakiel, Dunmore East, Co Waterford on July 26, 2018.

Giving evidence yesterday afternoon, Mr Lee told prosecution counsel Michael Delaney SC that he saw his friend Jack Power and another named man at the entrance to the Shanakiel estate in the early hours of July 26.

Christopher Lee, arriving at the Central Criminal Court, Dublin, where he gave evidence in the trial of Dean Kerrie for the murder of Jack Power, in Dunmore East, in July 2018. PIC: Collins Courts

When asked by Mr Delaney if there was any conversation between him and Mr Power, Mr Lee said he remembered "saying about busting up" Dean Kerrie's house but could not remember exactly. The witness said he did not know what had prompted him to say that and could not remember if Jack was saying anything.

Mr Lee said he remembered Mr Power running down towards Mr Kerrie's house and he took after him. "I could hear glass breaking but I couldn't see," he said, adding that he did not have a view of Mr Kerrie's house at that stage.

Continuing his examination-in-chief today, Mr Lee told Mr Delaney that when he got around the corner he saw a window in the Kerrie house had been broken. "I seen Jack go into the garden. I seen Ann Kerrie [the accused's mother] running towards Jack. I remember seeing Dean in the garden. I think Jack ran into the house after Dean," he said.

Mr Lee said he moved closer to the house and could see in through the window. "I seen pushing. I think it was Jack and Dean but I'm not sure. After that I was shouting into Jack to come out," he explained.

The witness said he was standing at the front door of the house and Jack came into the hallway. "There were two people in the hallway, there was a bit of pushing," he added.

At this point Mr Lee began to sob on the stand and wiped a few tears from his eye with his hand.

The witness testified that Mr Power was walking towards him and leaving the house when he saw the accused Mr Kerrie coming from the kitchen.

"He [Mr Kerrie] had a long knife in his hand and he shouted at Jack something about the house. Jack turned around and that's when Dean stabbed him with the knife. I knew it was the upper body and he [Jack] had his back to me," said Mr Lee.

When asked how Mr Power had responded, the witness said Jack had turned around to walk towards him.

Mr Lee added: "I was shouting at him [Mr Power]. He didn't even acknowledge me, he had gone so pale. He went to walk past me as if I wasn't there. I was probably standing at the doorstep, Jack was only a few feet away from me".

The witness said he could not remember if Mr Power had collapsed. "I remember Jack being on the ground. I had no phone on me. I knew Jack was hurt and knew he needed help," he said.

Mr Lee said he ran to his father's house in the Shanakiel estate and rang the gardai and ambulance to tell them that his friend had been stabbed.

The witness picked up a golf club before he left his father's house and used it to break two windows in the Kerrie house. "I broke the window to the right of the front door first and then the middle one," he said.

Mr Lee said he ran back to his father's house again and took another golf club before returning to the Kerrie house and breaking a third window.

He said he could not remember if there was anyone with Mr Power at the time.

When asked why he had broken the windows, Mr Lee told Mr Delaney that he did not know and "was in pure shock".

The witness told counsel that he had been out drinking all day and was unsure how much he had consumed.

Under cross-examination, Mr Lee agreed with defence counsel Ciaran O'Loughlin SC that Mr Power was his "best pal" and they knew each other from his school days.

Mr O'Loughlin put it to the witness that he told gardai in his statement that he remembered Jack saying something about a wing mirror on his car. "I can't remember what was said. I can just remember something was said about the wing mirror on his car," he said.

Mr Lee told the lawyer that he was "very sure" he saw Mr Kerrie running over to Mr Power when his friend ran into the garden and that the accused's mother Ann Kerrie was there too. "I can't remember if Ann Kerrie was lying on the ground but she was in the garden," he said.

He agreed that he thought the accused was shouting about his mother or his mother's house.

"Was that inside the house where Jack Power grabbed Ann Kerrie by the hair and was shoving her around the house and he subsequently attacked Dean and his friend?" asked Mr O'Loughlin. The witness said he could not remember.

He also said he did not remember seeing any blood coming from Jack when he came out of the house holding his chest.

When asked if he had picked up the golf club for the purpose of attacking someone. "I had just seen my best friend getting stabbed," he replied.

Mr O'Loughlin put it to the witness that if he had been in the house would he have thought that "a kind of siege was going on". "If I was in the house I would have known what was happening," he said.

The witness agreed that he was close enough to see the accused's mother running towards Mr Power and his friend pushing her back.

Later, Mr Lee said that Mr Power had pushed Mrs Kerrie back and she fell. In reply, the defence counsel said that the evidence will make that seem "most improbable".

Opening the prosecution’s case yesterday, Mr Delaney said the jury may have to consider the issue of self defence in the trial.

The trial continues this afternoon before Ms Justice Eileen Creedon and a jury of eight men and four women. It is expected to last two weeks.

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