Jury to resume deliberations in Cunningham murder trial

Jolanta Zlotnik— the court heard that she  prompted Nadowdny to confront Mr Cunningham.

Jolanta Zlotnik— the court heard that she prompted Nadowdny to confront Mr Cunningham.

The jury in the case of a Polish man on trial for the “quiet and deadly” murder of a 20-year-old man outside a Galway nightclub, will begin its second day of deliberations at the Central Criminal Court today (Thursday ).

The five men and seven women were sent home for the night yesterday (Wed Jan 26 ), after failing to reach a verdict in the case of Alexsander Nadowdny, who is accused of murdering Kieran Cunningham in June 2009.

In closing speeches, senior prosecuting counsel Mr Paul O'Higgins SC, told the jury that Nadowdny had carried out the stabbing in a “quiet and deadly fashion” and afterwards was in sufficient control to walk calmly away, without drawing attention to himself.

Twenty-year-old Mr Cunningham was just across the road from his group of friends, when he was stabbed three times, “swiftly expertly and completely silently” the jury heard. Twenty-eight-year-old Nadowdny, formerly of Renmore Park in Galway, has denied murdering Mr Cunningham, who suffered a 13cm deep stab wound to the heart.

In his direct evidence to the jury, Nadowdny said he had been sitting on the pavement with his friend Jolanta Zlotnik outside Karma nightclub on June 2 2009, and was falling asleep because he was so drunk.

He said Ms Zlotnik woke him, pointed out Mr Cunningham across the road who was shouting at them, showed him a knife in her handbag and told him to “do something about it.”

Nadowdny, a body-builder who was on steroids at the time, said all he could remember was walking across the road with the knife in his hand towards Mr Cunningham, who was just over five feet tall. But he repeatedly denied he had any memory of the stabbing.

Nadowdny maintained he just wanted to defend Ms Zlotnik, and scare Mr Cunningham. “Whether or not Ms Zlotnik gave him the knife does not make him any less guilty” Mr O'Higgins said to the jury, and drew their attention to the CCTV footage of the confrontation.

“This did not happen in some kind of stumbling accident.....Kieran Cunningham did not come towards Mr Nadowdny and then in some bizarre way throw himself or stumble oon the knife,”he pointed out.

Mr O'Higgins said Nadowdny might have stayed and tried to give some assistance, but he walked coolly away so not to draw attention to himself.

Asking the jury to return a verdict of guilty of murder, Mr O'Higgins concluded “What Nadowdny did was consistent with a high likelihood that Kieran Cunningham was certainly exposed to the gravest possible risk of death.”

Nadowdny's defence lawyer, Mr John Shortt SC, however reminded the jury that the incident was “the briefest of encounters” suggesting that the attack lasted just three to four seconds.

“He reacted impulsively and got up with the knife in his hand...it certainly appears he did stab Kieran Cunningham three times” but Mr Shortt said this made Nadowdny a killer, not a murderer. He stressed that drunkenness was not a defence to murder, but said Nadowdny's state of drunkenness was important when the jury was considering whether or not he was so drunk that he “could not form an intention to kill or seriously harm the deceased.”

“Of all the people involved, the one least likely to cause any harm was Mr Nadowdny. He told you himself he had a lot to drink, he was tired and he just wanted to sit down...but something happened that caused him to cross the street,” Mr Shortt said, suggesting that Ms Zlotnik had prompted Nadowdny to confront Mr Cunningham.

He asked the jury to return a verdict of guilty of manslaughter.

The jury were sent home for the night last night and will resume deliberations this morning (Thursday )

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