Man told garda stabbing of wife was ‘50/50 blame on both sides’

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Man Told Garda Stabbing Of Wife Was ‘50/50 Blame On Both Sides’ Man Told Garda Stabbing Of Wife Was ‘50/50 Blame On Both Sides’
Renato Gehlen denies murdering his wife Anne Colomines. Photo: File image.
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Eoin Reynolds

Renato Gehlen, who denies murdering his wife Anne Colomines, told a garda that he was arguing with Ms Colomines when he tried to grab a knife from her hand "and she was stabbed," the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Mr Gehlen told the garda it was "50/50 blame on both sides" and that he "tried to make her stop". He told the garda that he then tried to kill himself because Ms Colomines was his family.

Mr Gehlen (39), a Brazilian national, has pleaded not guilty to murdering his 37-year-old French wife at the apartment they shared in Dorset Square, Gardiner Street, Dublin 1 on October 25th 2017.

The trial has previously heard from Chief State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan that Ms Colomines had four stab wounds to her torso, a 22-centimetre incision on her neck and wounds to her hands. One of the stab wounds was 20 centimetres deep and passed through the heart, causing her death.

Hospital bed

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Gda Alma McGovern told prosecuting counsel Shane Costelloe that on October 27th 2017 she was on duty outside Mr Gehlen's room in the High Dependency Unit of the Mater Hospital. Mr Gehlen was being treated for injuries he sustained on the night his wife died.

The garda said Mr Gehlen beckoned her to enter the room and told her he wanted to speak to her. She told him he was under no obligation to speak and cautioned him that anything he said would be taken down and could be used in evidence.

Reading from notes she took as Mr Gehlen spoke, Gda McGovern said the accused told her that he and Ms Colomines had a fight about "another man". "They started yelling at each other and she said she would cut herself if he came close," Gda McGovern said.

Mr Gehlen said he left his wife for five to 10 minutes and went back and asked to talk to her. Ms Colomines took a knife and pressed it against her neck, he said. Mr Gehlen recalled a further "small argument" about Ms Colomines' boyfriend before they went to different parts of the house.

'50/50 blame'

When he went to check on her, he said there was another fight. He said he then took her computer to check who she was talking to and she asked Mr Gehlen what he was doing.

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Gda McGovern's notes read: "She had a knife in her hand and he went to grab the knife off her and she was stabbed. It was 50/50 blame on both sides."

Gda McGovern recalled Mr Gehlen saying that he "tried to make her stop and that it was an accident". Mr Gehlen then went into detail about his relationship with Ms Colomines, saying that they had split up three weeks earlier and were supposed to talk to see if things were all right.

He told Gda McGovern that he tried to take the knife from his wife, and said, "they were just kitchen knives." Gda McGovern continued: "He then said he tried to kill himself because she was his family."

Detective Sergeant Ken Hoare arrived at the hospital and in his presence Gda McGovern read over her notes to Mr Gehlen. Det Gda Hoare told Mr Costelloe that he asked Mr Gehlen which knife his wife had used. Mr Gehlen said that he had used a yellow knife and Ms Colomines the red knife.

Discharged and arrested

Det Sgt Hoare said Mr Gehlen remained in the High Dependency Unit until November 2nd when he was transferred to another ward. He was discharged on November 10th and Det Sgt Hoare arrested him on that day at 14:10.

During his time in hospital Mr Gehlen agreed to allow his wife's family take her body to France and gave them permission to take certain items from the apartment.

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When Mr Gehlen regained consciousness on October 26th, Det Sgt Hoare told him that Ms Colomines was dead. From Mr Gehlen's response, the detective believed that he already knew.

Garda Karen McCarthy told Mr Costelloe that on October 25th 2017 she took part in a search of the apartment where Ms Colomines' body was found. She said she found a Stanley blade or box-cutter on the bedroom floor near where Ms Colomines' body lay.

Garda Aileen Donnelly said she found a red knife at the bottom of the bed under a throw that was on top of the duvet.  The trial has previously heard that Mr Gehlen had a yellow-handled knife sticking from his chest when first responders arrived at the apartment.

The trial continues in front of Mr Justice Michael MacGrath and a jury of five women and seven men.

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