Northern Ireland

Portadown man Daniel Carroll accused of murdering Brian Phelan 'dreamt up' story about three men, court told

Newry murder victim Brian Phelan
Newry murder victim Brian Phelan

A MAN accused of stabbing a father-of-two to death "dreamt up" a story about three unidentified killers because the evidence "points fairly and squarely" at him, a court has heard.

Opening the Crown case against Daniel Carroll on the first day of his trial at Newry Crown Court, prosecuting QC Neil Connor told the jury how the alleged killer remained silent for 15 months after he allegedly stabbed Brian Phelan in the neck and chest

In a defence statement however, the 30-year-old claimed that three men unidentified men had "suddenly appeared" from over Camlough mountain and launched a murderous attack on Mr Phelan, warning Mr Carroll to "stay out of it" before fleeing.

Mr Connor said "the existence and presence of these three men are an invention by the defendant dreamt up by him over a period of 15 months since his arrest to try and explain away the incontrovertible evidence that points fairly and squarely at him as the person who stabbed Mr Phelan".

Mr Carroll, from Edward Street, Portadown, denies the charge of murder on July 26 2018.

Mr Phelan’s mother and sister sat in the public gallery, with other relatives watching by videolink as the jury heard the 33-year-old had gone to meet his alleged killer on Carrivekeeney Road to buy quad bikes.

The court heard CCTV footage from a nearby house showed an "interaction" between Mr Phelan and his alleged killer before he held his neck and slowly collapsed in the garden of a house where a passer-by found him and called the emergency services.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The prosecution described the men as "acquaintances" who had been texting and calling each other in the days leading up to the killing, mainly about Mr Phelan "looking for money owed to him by the defendant".

They were due to meet up the day before but a new arrangement made for Mr Phelan to collect Mr Carroll from High Street in Bessbrook.

The court heard Mr Phelan had been with two other friends when he left in a blue Peugeot 206, "mentioning something about buying quad bikes from the defendant".

Mr Connor said a witness saw two men at a blue Peugeot but it had gone when he returned 10-15 minutes later to see a man lying on the ground "saturated in blood... in a bad way".

The jury heard Mr Carroll went to his uncle's house, appearing "out of sorts and fidgeting with his hands, talking but not making much sense".

He told his uncle "he had been in an altercation with somebody and he heard rumours that the person might be dead" and when "asked if he had been the last one with the person who might be dead and he said he didn't know".

He was arrested there within two hours of the killing.

The trial continues.