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Stephen Carson murder accused denies killing involvement

By staff reporter

One of three cousins from west Belfast charged in connection with the murder of Stephen Carson yesterday repeatedly denied involvement in the shotgun killing.

David Smith rejected suggestions he was one of two men who entered Mr Carson's Walmer Street home in the Ormeau Road area of Belfast on February 25, 2016, instead claiming: "I am the victim of something being fabricated."

David James Francis Smith (34) and Michael Lawrence Smith (39), both of Monagh Drive, deny murdering Mr Carson (28), who died after he was blasted with a shotgun.

The jury has already heard the Crown's case that both men entered the home and, while Michael Smith shot Mr Carson, David Smith was the 'second man' at the scene. Instead, David Smith claimed that on the evening in question, he met Michael on the Springfield Road to repay a debt.

David Smith told the jury they then went to a friend's house in Cavendish Street, and became involved in a fight with a male there. Smith claimed he and the other man were both covered in blood. He then left and went back to his flat after rowing with his cousin about the fight.

After running a bath and changing his clothes, David Smith said he left again around 11pm as he had run out of drink.

He claimed that after getting alcohol from a bar, he "headed back up to the flat ... and resumed drinking." He said he did not go out again that night.

He was arrested the following day, but did not answer police questions "on the advice of my solicitor".

Under cross-examination, Smith was accused of "crafting a narrative" to fit what he had already heard in the trial. His reason for changing his clothes on the evening of the murder was also branded a "convenient excuse".

He denied going to Walmer Street with a hammer, knowing that the reason was kill Mr Carson. He also denied knowledge of the gun.

After it was put to him Mr Carson's fiancee picked him out in an ID procedure, he said: "I think she was just content to get any of the Smith family."

It was pointed out that the murder weapon was found in his cousin's wardrobe, and that mobile phone analysis suggested another cousin's phone was in the Ormeau area before and after the shooting.

Asked if this shocked him, David Smith said: "I was more shocked being charged with murder."

He said he initially thought he was being arrested for the fight at Cavendish Street, and when asked if he felt he was a victim of bad fortune and coincidence, David Smith said: "I am a victim of something being fabricated."

Earlier the jury was directed to acquit David Smith's co-accused and cousin Frances Smith (42) of murder. He was then charged with assisting offenders between February 25 and 27, 2016, and possessing a handgun without a certificate. He pleaded not guilty.

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