Derry man Edward Meenan was a victim of a ‘brutal and savage attack’, prosecutor tells jury at trial
A Derry man whose body was found in an alleyway behind Creggan Street in the city on November 25 2018 had been the victim of a ‘sustained, brutal and savage attack’ the local Crown Court sitting in Belfast heard today.
Four people, three men and a woman are on trial.
The four defendants are Sean Rodgers (34) of Little Diamond in Derry, Derek Creswell (29) of King’s Lane in Ballykelly, Ryan Walters (22) whose address was given as Crossgar, and Sinead White (38) of St Brecan’s Park in Derry.
Rodgers, Cresswell and Walters are all charged with the murder of Edward Meenan on November 25 2018. They are also charged with wounding another man with intent and perverting the course of justice on the same date.
White is charged with withholding information in relation to an assault.
Opening the case for the prosecution, Liam McCollum QC said there was no real issue that Edward Meenan had been murdered, and the issue for the jury was were the four defendants involved.
He said on the opening day of the trial that some of the case against the accused was circumstantial, but contended there was also direct evidence.
The jury was told that the body of Edward Meenan was found in the middle of the road at the rear of a house in Creggan Street at 2.44am on November 25.
Paramedics who arrived at the scene some 14 minutes later ‘recognised immediately’ that Mr Meenan was dead, although the formal pronouncement was not made until 10.50am.
The jury heard that Edward Meenan suffered more than 40 stab wounds to his neck, chest, shoulder and arms. Both legs were fractured and there was extensive ‘blunt force trauma’ on the body caused by ‘heavy punches or kicks.’ A rod like weapon was also used, according to Mr McCollum.
He told the jury Edward Meenan and another man arrived at the house in Creggan Street, and it was contended that at this point the three men came out and attacked him and the other man.
The prosecutor claimed they ‘literally didn’t give him a chance’, and said that the other man suffered a head injury but managed to run away.
The jury was told that there was ‘a substantial blood spatter’ in the garden of the house at Creggan Street as well as drag marks where the body was taken into the alleyway.
The jury also heard allegations that afterwards, the three defendants made their way to a house in the Little Diamond where they lit a fire in the back garden and destroyed evidence.
The court heard allegations that Rodgers was seen shovelling items on to a fire in the garden.
The fire, it was claimed to the jury, was directly linked to the murder as some of Edward Meenan’s blood was found on a piece of cloth found in the fire.
Other items found in the fire were a shoe that could have fitted Rodgers and when he was arrested he had no shoes on, jurors were told.
The prosecution claimed that the case against Cresswell and Walters was ‘straightforward’ as Meenan’s blood was found on them by forensics.
The jury also heard there was CCTV evidence allegedly linking all the three men together before and after the murder.
Both Cresswell and Rodgers gave identical stories to the police and Rodgers claimed he was with Cresswell all night, which the prosecution claimed presented Rodgers in ‘some difficulties’ as if Cresswell was linked to the scene of the murder so, allegedly, was Rodgers.
The jury was also told that the defendant Walters allegedly gave police ‘a self serving account’ in which he blamed the other two for the murder which he said lasted about half an hour.
Cresswell, the jury was told, also served the court with a defence statement in which he ‘minimized’ his role but accepted he was present.
Mr McCollum claimed the evidence was ‘strong and convincing’ and ‘overwhelmingly’ proves what happened to Edward Meenan.
The case is expected to last five or six weeks.
The trial continues.