A mother of one accused of murder told a jury today (Tuesday) how she disarmed her co-accused in the midst of a fatal beating by taking both a knife and dumbbell off him.
Both Shaunean Boyle and Stephen Hughes are currently standing trial for the murder of Lurgan man Owen Creaney, who was beaten in a house in Craigavon and who was placed into a wheelie bin after he died from head and chest injuries.
The 40-year old victim was attacked in the hallway of Hughes’s Moyraverty Court home in the early hours of Thursday July 3rd, 2014.
Both Boyle (25) from Edenderry Park in Banbridge and 29-year old co-accused Stephen Hughes, whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry, have admitted being in the house when Mr Creaney was attacked, both have both blamed the other for administering the fatal beating.
Boyle was called to give evidence and from the witness box she described how Hughes punched, kicked and stamped on Mr Creaney. She also described how Hughes knelt on Mr Creaney’s chest and put a knife to his throat - but claimed she grabbed the blade and was able to take the knife off Hughes.
She also said that at the time of the murder, her and Hughes were not a couple but that she loved him.
During questioning by her own barrister John Kearney QC, Boyle confirmed that prior to the beating all three of them had been drinking in Lurgan before returning to Hughes’s house at around 3am.
Telling the jury all three of them were drunk, she said Hughes began to attack Mr Creaney “roughly 15 to 20 minutes” after they arrived at the house. She also revealed that a few minutes before the assault, Hughes has tried to shave Mr Creaney’s head with an electric razor, but only managed to shave a bit of hair.
Boyle said that everything seemed normal, but then Hughes “lost his temper” and started talking about his previous home being trashed. Boyle told the court: “He had said to Owen that he was hanging about with the person that ransacked his house. Owen just said that he didn’t want anything to do with it.
“Stephen got up off his chair, went over to Owen and punched him twice in the face. I got up off the chair. I told Stephen to stop it.”
Boyle said she then told Hughes her and Mr Creaney were going to leave, and that she tried the back door, but it was locked. She claimed that Mr Creaney got up and followed her, that she then tried the front door which was also locked, and that when she and Mr Creaney were in the hall, Hughes continued his assault on Mr Creaney.
She said Hughes “started punching Owen again ... until he fell on the ground” and that when Mr Creaney was on the ground Hughes “started kicking him. He started stamping on him after the kicks.”
Boyle claimed she tried to push Hughes away, but that he in turn pushed her, causing her to fall on her backside in the hall. She said that at this point, as she was getting to her feet, she saw Hughes “coming out of the living room with a dumbbell.”
Telling the court Hughes was “swinging” the dumbbell, Boyle said she was able to grab it off Hughes and put it in the living room. She said she then witnessed “more kicks” before Hughes went into the kitchen and returned with a butcher’s knife.
When asked what happened next, Boyle said: “He like kneeled on his chest and put the knife to his throat. I grabbed the blade of the knife and told him I wasn’t letting go of it. I got the knife and put it back into the kitchen.”
Boyle said that this incident ended the assault. When asked why, she replied: “I think Hughsey realised what he had done. He was walking up the hallway and into the living room with his hands on his head and he said ‘what have I done.’”
She also said that Hughes then sat Mr Creaney upright with his back to a radiator, whilst she cleaned the blood from his face.
When asked if at this stage Mr Creaney was conscious, she said “he was making noises and he was able to move his hands.”
Both Hughes and Boyle have already admitted that following the beating - which they each deny and attribute the violence to each other - they carried Mr Creaney up the stairs. He was then showered as he had wet himself, before being changed into Hughes clothes and placed on a settee in a bedroom.
Mr Creaney lay in the same position for two days before passing away from his injuries - which included a broken breastbone and mutiple fractured ribs.
Boyle claimed that she asked Hughes “more than once” to call an ambulance, adding the first time she mentioned this was when she was cleaning the blood from Mr Creaney’s face in the hallway.
And when asked if she and Hughes discussed what happened after they put Mr Creaney upstairs, Boyle said: “Yes, there was a discussion. Hughsey couldn’t get over what he had done. I told him he needed to get off the steroids.”