Killer who kicked homeless man to death says friend stood on victim's throat
Homeless man’s killer takes stand to implicate friend
A Northern Ireland man convicted of murdering a homeless Polish national has denied that he has implicated his former friend as revenge after she gave evidence against him.
Adrian Gregory Cunningham (20), who was convicted last month of the murder of 40-year-old Marek Mateusz Muszynski, also rejected defence suggestions that rather than helping him kick the Polish man to death, Lindsay White had tried to stop him.
White (23), from Mary Street in Newry, is on trial and denies any involvement in the July 2009 murder, while her former co-accused Cunningham, of Lisgullion Park, also Newry, was jailed for life last month after pleading guilty.
Yesterday Cunningham told Newry Crown Court that Mr Muszynski had unwittingly walked to his death in an alleyway while attempting “to defuse the situation... to show good will” after an another assault just moments earlier.
Judge David McFarland and the jury of nine men and three women also heard that, after making a coughing sound as a signal to start the attack, White allegedly punched Mr Muszynski in the face before Cunningham lashed out, knocking him to the floor.
Cunningham claimed that “Lindsay and I then proceeded to kick this man in the head... he would have been kicked for several minutes, and at this stage both Lindsay and I stood on his throat”.
He also told prosecution QC Philip Mateer that he could not be sure how many times they had kicked a defenceless Mr Muszynski, but that White had “definitely” kicked him in the upper body.
After the killing Cunningham claimed that everything was “quite tense... I was panicking”, but admitted that they went to a local bar to buy more drink before collecting a Chinese takeaway on their way to White's flat.
Cunningham claimed that in the days following the murder “it got to the stage where I was extremely upset and broke down and began to cry, and was overcome with guilt, and was panic- stricken”.
However, while he accepted that he had initially lied to police, he claimed that he confessed after he “realised how severe it had become and rather than shy away, I should open up and accept the punishment I was due”. Asked by Mr Mateer why he had implicated White in the killing, Cunningham replied: “Because it is the truth.”
However, later under cross-examination from defence QC Turlough Montague, Cunningham admitted that his confession only came after police had put White's statements to him in which she claimed that she had tried to stop the attack.
When asked by Mr Montague why, if he was “filled with grief, remorse and guilt”, he did not tell police the truth from the outset, Cunningham claimed that he was “scared” of the prospect of spending the rest of his life in jail and what his family and friends might think of him.
Mr Montague then put it to the young killer that the first time he allegedly opened up to police was when they put White's account of what happened.
Cunningham admitted that White's police statement would have “prompted” him, but rejected the suggestion he had then “decided to try and take Lindsay down with you because she had told the truth”.
The defence lawyer further claimed that White “did her best to stop you and the more she told you to stop the more you kicked him... you were in a rage and she did her best to stop you”.
Cunningham in turn dismissed his claims as “false”.