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The Central Criminal Court.

Ennis man admits killing but denies murder

A man who admits killing a Polish man in Ennis last year but denies murdering him told gardai that he “just went berserk”.

Michael Maughan (40) of Stone Court, Ennis pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Piotr Nowakowski (31) at Sandfield Mews, Ennis on July 23, 2013.

Last week the Central Criminal Court was told the manslaughter plea was not acceptable to the prosecution and a jury was sworn in for the murder trial.

The accused has also pleaded not guilty to assaulting Declan O’Dea at the same address on the same date.

On Tuesday, memos of garda interviews with the accused during his detention were read to the jury, in which the accused said that he stabbed Mr Nowakowski twice.

“I pulled a knife and stabbed him twice…I don’t feel one bit proud,” he told gardai.

“Declan got a few clouts and he ran,” he added.

He then told gardai that after paramedics arrived he kicked Mr Nowakowski in the head when he was on the ground because the men inside did not open the door for him.

He said the men were in bed when he lifted his brother, Darren up to get in a window before opening the front door for him.

“I was angry they never opened the door…even when he was on the ground I
was still angry,” he said.

He said he saw a large knife on the kitchen counter and “just went berserk.”

“I just saw the knife, I just pulled the knife,” he said.

He said he did not mean to kill him and thought that Mr Nowakowski was just
drunk when he kicked him in the head.

“Even when the medics came in I gave him a kick in the head,” he told gardai. “I’d totally no control,” he added.

Under cross-examination, Garda Stephen Hession agreed with Brendan Nix SC, defending, the accused told gardai in interview that he “just went berserk” and said: “I wanted to help him but then I flipped.”

“I just lost it, I was out of control…It was total madness, there was no excuse.”

Margaret Nihill, who is the accused’s ex-girlfriend, testified that they were a couple for eight months up until the incident.

Ms Nihill told Roisin Lacey BL, prosecuting, that the accused drank half a 750 ml bottle of vodka before she drove he and his brother to the Sandfield apartment complex that night.

She said the accused was supposed to be giving up alcohol, so she poured out the other half of the vodka and she had an argument with him before they went to Sandfield.

Under cross-examination she told Mr Nix, defending, that the accused was just out of Bushy Park, which is an addiction treatment centre.

She said she had argued over him going up to Sandfield drinking and added, “there’s no talking to him when he’s drink.”

Deputy State Pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis gave evidence he carried out a post mortem examination at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital on July 23, 2013.

He told the court he was informed that the deceased was an unemployed single man, who lived in a hostel and was believed to be a chronic alcoholic, who remained fully active.

Dr Curtis said the deceased received several blows and was stabbed before receiving a further kick to the head.

He told the court that he died in the ambulance on the way to Shannon Airport where he was to be airlifted to hospital in Cork but he was conveyed to the mortuary at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital.

Dr Curtis said he had a blood alcohol level of 415mg per cent but drugs were not detected.

He said he sustained two stab wounds to the right side of the chest and his right lung was collapsed.

He told Denis Vaughan Buckley SC, prosecuting, that the cause of death was stab wounds to the trunk, lung and liver with blunt force trauma to the head and face a contributory factor.

The trial continues before a jury of seven men and five women with Mr Justice Paul Carney presiding.

Niamh O’Donoghue

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