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Garda murder suspect 'tried to poison himself on eve of his fire attack' O'TOOLE WAS DEEPLY WORRIED, COURT TOLD.

Byline: SUZANNE MacMANUS

A MAN accused of capital murder was going to kill himself with poison the day before he torched a Garda sergeant to death, the Central Criminal Court heard yesterday.

Krisztof Bajai, a former colleague of accused Daniel O'Toole, told the court that when he saw his friend he was "distressed, upset and worried".

O'Toole, 37, of Cashel Avenue, Crumlin, Dublin, denies murdering Sgt Andrew Callanan who was acting in the course of his duties at Tallaght Garda station on July 21, 1999.

If O'Toole is found guilty of capital murder he will receive an automatic 40-year prison sentence.

A charge of murder was also put to the accused, as an alternative to capital murder.

He pleaded not guilty to the simple murder charge but guilty to manslaughter.

O'Toole also pleaded not guilty to a further charge of arson on the same date, with intention to damage property.

Mr Bajai, who worked with O'Toole in a film set security firm, told the court he feared for the safety of the accused following a conversation he had with him at his home on July 20, 1999.

He said he was aware O'Toole was having marital difficulties and had been prevented from seeing his children, which upset him greatly.

Mr Bajai said he visited the accused at his home following a phone call in which O'Toole was crying.

He said that when he arrived O'Toole was at his computer and he noticed the syringes - one containing ammonia and another containing hydro- chloric acid.

He said: "When I first went in he had hidden the syringes under the keyboard and said, 'I was going to pump those into myself earlier on'.

"I took them and emptied them down the sink and told him not to do anything stupid."

Asked by defence counsel George Bermingham if O'Toole meant he was going to kill himself with the syringes, Mr Bajai replied that he did.

He said they had also discussed downloading from the internet information from the Terrorists Handbook.

The book explained how to use household chemicals in an unlawful manner and how to make improvised projectile weapons.

He said the accused had been drinking vodka and cola and that when he left the house his mood had lifted.

The court previously heard that O'Toole walked into Tallaght Garda station shortly after 4am on the day of the killing armed with petrol cannisters and Japanese flares.

He set the leaking petrol cans on the counter of the public area and then raised his arm in front of him - with a lit flare in each hand. When Sgt Callanan approached him the room became engulfed in flames.

Sgt Callanan was burned to death.

He walked out and later rang Gardai in Harcourt Square and asked after the Garda who had been injured in the blaze.

His mobile number was recorded at Harcourt Square when the telephone call was received and O'Toole was later contacted by Gardai in connection with the killing.

He allegedly told officers he had "committed a terrible act" and that he had wanted to attack "the f***ing system."

The trial before Mr Justice Paul Carney and a jury of seven women and five men continues on Tuesday.

CAPTION(S):

ACCUSED: O'Toole at the court yesterday; KILLED: Sgt Callanan
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 16, 2001
Words:548
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