Saturday 27 December 2014

Coming home to find Marioara Rostas dead was like a 'blockbuster' film' court told

“It’s like a blockbuster - it’s not every day somebody comes home to find somebody dead in their house,” Fergus O'Hanlon tells court

By Andrew Phelan

Published 22/07/2014 | 12:36

Marioara Rostas

A FORMER friend of murder accused Alan Wilson who is giving evidence against him has denied threatening to discredit the witness protection programme and sell information about it to other criminals.

Fergus O’Hanlon admitted to the Central Criminal Court that he thrashed three apartments provided to him under the programme but denied he was a “controlling bully.”

His evidence in the trial of Mr Wilson concluded this afternoon after three days under cross-examination by Michael O’Higgins SC, for the defence.

Mr O’Hanlon has rejected a series of assertions by Mr O’Higgins that he had lied in his evidence.

Mr Wilson (35), of New Street Gardens, Dublin 8, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Marioara Rostas (18) at Brabazon Street, The Coombe, between January 7 and 8, 2008.

She went missing while begging in traffic in Dublin city centre on January 6 that year and her body was found in a shallow grave in woods in the Kippure-Sally Gap area on the Dublin/Wicklow border four years later, on January 23, 2012.

Mr O’Hanlon (37) alleges he was called home on the night, that Mr Wilson showed him Marioara’s body, and he helped the accused dispose of it.

The jury has heard he is a convicted criminal with immunity from prosecution and had been in the witness protection programme until he was jailed for drunk driving and burglary.

Mr O’Higgins read from garda witness protection reports about their dealings with Mr O’Hanlon under the programme. The reports said he was “difficult to manage” and had divulged his status to people countless times because he was an “attention seeker.”

A number of episodes cited by the reports included a major domestic incident in which he allegedly tried to strangle his ex-partner Rita Curran, whose ribs were broken afterwards. Mr O’Hanlon said she was exaggerating and must have hit her ribs off a bed.

He admitted threatening to gardai that he would shoot Ms Curran’s brother, but denied repeating it. He denied a photograph sent to her of a friend holding a gun was a “coded message.”

Mr O’Hanlon admitted relapsing after a week and a half of alcohol rehab. Gardai received a complaint that he was holding a woman he had met in AA against her will, but Mr O’Hanlon said this was untrue and it was the woman’s father who reported it.

He admitted vandalising three apartments he was given under the programme, breaking a TV and door and punching holes in the wall of one with a chair.

Mr O’Hanlon said he had been stressed because it had “not been easy on the programme” as he could not interact with people or work.

He admitted burgling a Supermacs restaurant and crashing a car while drunk and said he was now serving sentences for those offences.

According to the report, Ms Curran said he told her he would do “everything in his power to discover the true identity and addresses of the gardai attached to the witness protection unit.”

The report stated he had told gardai he would sell information about the operation of the programme to other criminals if the opportunity arose. He denied these allegations, saying: “I don’t know what these people do.”

Earlier, Mr O’Hanlon denied that he was giving evidence against Mr Wilson because he “hated” him. He could not recall a prison phone conversation in which he was recorded saying: “I have waited four years to f**k him over.”

The trial continues before the jury and Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy tomorrow.

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