Love rival stabbed in back by ‘jealous’ attacker

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court

Jealousy over a love rival may have driven a homeless man to stab another man in the back with a Stanley knife, a court has been told.

Bernard McSorley, 53, denies murdering Paul McDonagh after Mr McDonagh was found dead in an open garage four days after the attack.

Following the attack on October 24, McSorley - who was known as Bernie or Scottish Bernie - spoke about stabbing Mr McDonagh, who was also homeless, “as though it were the normal thing in the circumstances”.

A number of people witnessed McSorley running up the steps behind TKMaxx, in Church Street, Lancaster, and attacking Mr McDonagh, shouting something like “you’re a dead man”, the court was told.

Staff at the Lancaster and District Homeless Action Service (LDHAS) spoke of McSorley having “a very bad grievance” with Mr McDonagh, 30, who was known as Sol, Saul, Hightop or Hightower, in the days leading up to the attack.

Both men were members of Lancaster’s homeless community and were regular users of the city’s Homeless Centre.

Paul Reid QC, prosecuting, told Preston Crown Court: “The attack appears to have been motivated by McSorley’s jealousy towards Paul McDonagh.

McSorley, had developed feelings towards a much younger woman, Lorna Nardone but she did not reciprocate those feelings and had feelings for Paul McDonagh.

Paul McDonagh told her that McSorley had told him, to stay away from her or he would hurt him.”

In a separate incident, McSorley kicked Mr McDonagh hard in the face as he sat on the museum steps with Lorna Nardone, saying he would not be able to kiss Lorna again with that lip.

On the morning of the stabbing, which happened on steps behind TK Maxx in Church Street, Lancaster, Miss Nardone, Paul McDonagh and another man, Freddie Broadbent were at the bus station in Lancaster waiting for McSorley to arrive.

But when the defendant saw Lorna with Mr McDonagh, he shouted “you’re going to get it” and said something about getting “done in” or “stabbed”, the court was told.

Later that day, McSorley was seen running up the steps behind TK Maxx to where Mr McDonagh was sitting and attacking him, stabbing him in the back with the knife.

Mr McDonagh went to Lancaster Royal Infirmary with Freddie Broadbent where the wound was stitched and Mr McDonagh was told to visit his GP in five days time.

But at around 1pm on Tuesday, October 29, McDonagh was found dead by homeless centre staff after a young woman who lived nearby and had taken him food and a blanket the previous night became concerned about his condition.

At first it was thought Mr McDonagh had died from hyperthermia but a post mortem examination carried out by Dr Alison Armour concluded his cause of death was shock and haemorrhage with the underlying cause being the stab wound to the back.

Despite openly admitting stabbing Mr McDonagh, McSorley made no comment when he was interviewed by police and denies a single count of murder.