The man accused of killing a publican in Offaly two years ago told a prison cellmate that he didn’t mean to kill the victim that night, a court has heard.
Eddie Wing (31) with a previous address at Roscrea, Co Tipperary has pleaded not guilty to the unlawful killing of 64-year-old Matthew Farrell at the Gaelic Bar, Daingean, Co Offaly on April 1, 2009. He has also denied burglary at the Gaelic Bar on the same date.
During a robbery of the pub Mr Farrell, had his hands bound behind his back and suffered blunt force trauma to the head and face. The grandfather and father-of-four suffered a heart attack and was found dead by his son the next day.
The State’s main witness yesterday (Tuesday) told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that in November 2009, Mr Wing confessed to the killing while the two men shared a prison cell.
This witness, a convicted burglar and former heroin addict who is not being named, told prosecuting counsel, Mary Rose Gearty SC, that Mr Wing broke down in tears during the alleged confession.
He said Mr Wing told him that he and another man were involved in robbing a pub in Daingean when an old man who was sleeping downstairs woke up.
Mr Wing allegedly told the witness that after one of the burglar’s names was mentioned in front of Mr Farrell, Mr Wing hit him so that the victim would forget the name the next day.
The witness alleged that Mr Wing said that “he hit him a few slaps” and that he didn’t mean to kill him. He said on another occasion Mr Wing talked about tying the victim up.
The witness told the court that Mr Wing said he “didn’t wake up that day with the intention of killing anybody”.
“He was in a bad way, like a broken man. He was crying at one stage. He was sorry for doing it,” the witness said.
Asked how he felt about Mr Wing after the alleged confession, the witness said: “I was shocked. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing”.
The witness said he didn’t tell anyone about the alleged confession until after his release from prison. He said he then went to the garda station in Birr, Co Offaly and told Inspector Dermot Drea what about the allegations.
He said he hadn’t heard anything about the killing until six months later when Mr Wing referred to it in prison.
Conor Devally SC, defending, said Mr Wing must have been “living under a rock” during that time to have no heard about the killing, which was a “huge event” in the area.
The witness replied: “I didn’t know anything about it. I was strung out on drugs. I was on gear:”
He said he wasn’t aware of any reward linked to the investigation into the killing and that he never received any reward. He said he reported what he allegedly knew because he “wouldn’t like to see any old man done like that”.
The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury of seven men and five women.