Monday 26 September 2016

Woman tells murder trial 'she saw accused's uncles attack him with sewer rods about six months before shooting'

By Natasha Reid

Published 07/07/2015 | 13:47

Claire McKiernan was giving evidence for the defence this morning in the trial of Dublin father-of-one David Cully.
Claire McKiernan was giving evidence for the defence this morning in the trial of Dublin father-of-one David Cully.

A woman has told a murder trial that she saw uncles of the murder accused attack him with sewer rods about six months before he shot one of his uncles dead.

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Claire McKiernan was giving evidence for the defence this morning in the trial of Dublin father-of-one David Cully, who has admitted killing Edward O’Connor.

The 41-year-old died of two gun-shot wounds to his back. Cully claimed he shot him ‘in the heat of the moment’ after he commented about somebody who had made an allegation of sexual abuse against him (the deceased).

The Central Criminal Court has heard that the allegation was investigated, but the DPP had decided not to prosecute.

The 24-year-old of Kilshane Road, Finglas West has pleaded not guilty to murdering his uncle, but guilty to his manslaughter at Ballycoolin Road, Finglas West on December 15th, 2013.

Ms McKiernan testified that she was living across the road from Cully’s aunt, Gráinne Brannigan, in the summer of 2013, when she witnessed an ‘argument in the garden with some of the (Ms Brannigan’s) brothers, David (Cully), Niall (Cully) and Big Paul (Brannigan)’.

“The first thing I remember is the jeep coming around the corner,” she said. “It came around at speed.”

She said that it stopped outside Ms Brannigan’s house and three men in their 40s got out.

“Two of them had sewer rods for cleaning drains,” she said.

“They’re brothers I wouldn’t know,” she added. “The jeep used to go up and down Cappagh Road and Gráinne used to wave... It’s gold with an orange light on the top.”

She said that the accused was fixing a bike in his aunt’s garden at the time.

“He was crouched down,” she said.

She said that Cully’s brother, Niall Cully, and Ms Brannigan’s husband, Paul Brannigan, were also there.

“The two bigger ones sort of just ran with the sewer rods towards Niall and David,” she said. “The two boys were up on the wall, trying to get away from them.”

She said she thought that Mr Brannigan had been hit.

“They were there about four or five minutes and then sped off,” she said.

Under cross examination by the prosecution, she agreed that she had never made a statement about this to the Gardaí.

“It’s a family thing,” she said. “I didn’t want to get involved.”

The trial continues this afternoon before Mr Justice Carroll Moran and a jury of seven women and five men.

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