Belfast Telegraph

West Belfast man on trial for uncle's murder says 'I didn't think he would die'

BY PAUL HIGGINS

A man accused of murdering his uncle admitted that he “played a part” in the man's death.

Under cross-examination at Belfast Crown Court, Daniel Gaskin (22) told the jury: “I played a part, yeah. But I didn't think anybody was going to die.”

Gaskin, who is on trial alongside his older brother Gerard Gaskin (31), also conceded that he “hated” his uncle, Seamus Holland, over previous allegations of rape.

The defendants, from Gortnamona Way in Belfast, deny murdering their 55-year-old uncle in November 2010.

Mr Holland was attacked and beaten with an iron bar in the early hours of the morning in the kitchen of his home at Upton Court.

He was rushed to hospital, but died of a heart atttack.

The jury has already heard that it is the Crown case the brothers launched the “savage” attack on Mr Holland over previous allegations of rape.

Daniel Gaskin told the jury that, on the night of the killing, he had been socialising with his girlfriend and was “very drunk”.

He said he was called out of his bedroom by his brother Gerard, telling him “to come down and go around and confront Seamus with him”.

Asked what he understood that to mean, Daniel Gaskin told Arthur Harvey QC, defending, “to go down and give him a kicking”.

But he said that his intention was only “to give him a couple of punches” — not to kill him, or cause him serious harm.

Gaskin said that at no time did he see his brother holding a metal bar.

It was not until his brother and uncle were fighting in the kitchen that he saw the iron bar being used by his brother, he said.

He claimed that he had “thrown a couple of punches” at his uncle and then, when he was on the ground, “kicked him and stamped on his leg” before the pair left the house.

Gaskin told Mr Harvey that the next day, when he heard that his uncle “had half-an-hour to live,” he was “scared and shocked and just couldnt believe it”.

The lawyer asked him if he had been “angry” when he went to the house at Upton Court. Gaskin replied “Yeah”, but maintained that there was no intention to seriously hurt Mr Holland and that he “never thought” his brother would use a weapon.

The trial continues.

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