Accused confessed to assault, neighbour of murder victim tells trial
The neighbour of a man beaten to death in his Co Armagh home has told a jury that the murder accused arrived at his door drunk and said he had punched the deceased.
Gerard Burn was giving evidence during the second day of a trial being held in Belfast Crown Court.
Mark Daniel Ward (25), from Drumellan Gardens in the Moyraverty area of Craigavon, is charged with murdering Marcell 'Junior' Seeley in or around Sunday, October 11, 2015.
The remains of the 34-year-old father-of-four were found in the living room of his Dingwell Park flat in the Taghnevan estate in Lurgan, with the cause of death determined as blunt force trauma to the head.
Mr Burn said that he had known Ward for more than a decade and that he called at his flat opposite Mr Seeley's between nine and 10am on Sunday, October 11.
When asked about Ward's demeanour, Mr Burn said: "He looked fresh and well, well dressed, but he was very drunk. He must have been on the beer all night."
Mr Burn also described Ward as "wiped out", "twisted" and said "he was all over the place. He seemed to be in Disneyland".
When asked if Ward said anything else, Mr Burn claimed Ward told him he had "hit someone a couple of jabs... two lefts and a right".
Mr Burn said Ward also asked him that if blood came out of someone's ear, did that mean they were dead. The witness said he told Ward that he believed this was the case.
Describing Mr Seeley as a "good buddy", Mr Burn said when he realised that he was dead following the discovery two days later, his head "started spinning".
Under cross-examination by Charles MacCreanor QC, representing Ward, it emerged that Mr Burn told police that when Ward called to his house that Sunday, he noticed blood on Ward's knuckle, which he wiped on Mr Burn's curtain. But Mr Burn did not reveal this to police until nine months after the murder.
Mr MacCreanor asked the witness why - given the blood on Ward's knuckle and his confession of punching Mr Seeley - he hadn't checked on his friend.
Mr Burn replied: "He was saying things that didn't make sense. I didn't believe he hit Junior or anything... I didn't think there was anything to worry about."
Mr MacCreanor said it was Ward's case that on the evening of October 10, it was Mr Burn and his partner who had been in Mr Seeley's flat, and that he went into the flat after hearing shouting and noise.
Ward also makes the case that in the flat there was "arguing, pushing and shoving", that everyone was drinking, that Ward pushed Mr Burn and Mr Seeley apart, which caused Mr Burn to fall on the sofa, and that Mr Seeley hit him so he hit him back.
The accused also claimed that he offered to kick out Mr Burn and his partner for Mr Seeley, then he left the flat.
This version was completely rejected by Mr Burn, who said "that's all news to me".