Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

I’m not lying, says widow of man hacked to death

A woman who claims she saw her cousins hack her husband to death has denied that she was “making it up”.

Under cross examination for the fourth day at Belfast Crown Court, Julia Mongan declared: “I'm not making it up — they killed John.”

In the dock denying the murder of John Mongan in the early hours of February 7 last year are Londonderry men 34-year-old Christopher Stokes, Edward Gabriel Stokes (38) and a 16-year-old boy who cannot be identified because of his age.

The three also deny causing criminal damage to a Mitsibushi Shogun 4x4 owned by Mr Mongan. Edward Stokes denies a further charge of wounding Mrs Mongan with intent to cause her grievous bodily harm.

It is the Crown case that after smashing their way into the house at Fallswater Street in west Belfast, the three hacked and beat 30-year-old Mr Mongan to death with an axe, a sword and a bat, all in front of his terrified wife and seven-year-old daughter.

Dermot Fee QC, acting for Edward Stokes, suggested to Mrs Mongan that she had not mentioned his client had been armed with a sword for over three months, and while she agreed that she had not, Mrs Mongan told the lawyer it was because her mind had “blanked it out”.

“That's what he hit me with and I blanked it out — it only came back to me afterwards,” claimed Mrs Mongan.

The lawyer asked her to explain why she had not told police he had been armed with a sword or why she initially said that all three were wearing gloves and then changed that, some months later, to say that only the teenager and Edward had been gloved.

“Do you just make it up as you go along?” asked Mr Fee, but was told: “I don't make it up, they killed John.

“What happened there — can you explain that?”

Later the jury heard from Kathleen Donnelly who lived on the opposite side of the street from the Mongans' home. She said that at just after 2am she heard a door banging and then “like a girl screaming” coming from the direction of the house.

She told prosecuting QC Gordon Kerr that as she looked out her window she saw a total of four men leave the house and that all of them had their faces masked.

Mrs Donnelly said that the last three men to come out of the house were all wearing dark clothing, had their faces covered and were carrying weapons of some description which they used to batter the 4x4.

The trial continues.

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