Sunday 26 January 2020

Accomplice in Zambra trial testifies that he ordered killing

Natasha Reid

AN accomplice granted immunity in a murder case has testified that the man on trial charged with the murder ordered the killing.

The man, who is now in the Witness Protection Programme, told the Central Criminal Court that Dubliner Christopher Zambra offered €30,000 for the shooting of 33-year-old John Carroll.

 

Mr Carroll was shot dead as he socialised in Grumpy Jacks pub in The Coombe, in Dublin on February 18, 2009.

 

Mr Zambra (38) of Galtymore Road, Drimnagh has pleaded not guilty to murdering the fellow Dubliner.

 

Joseph O’Brien entered the witness box yesterday (Tuesday) and said that he first met the defendant in a Temple Bar café. The 28-year-old said that there were two other men there and that they wanted Mr Carroll shot.

 

“Git (Christopher Zambra) was just saying that he had to be done straight away,” he said.

 

O’Brien said that one of the men at this meeting was supposed to shoot him.

 

"It was meant to be done in one of the pubs,” he said, explaining that the gunman was to go for a drink with the deceased.

 

“Git said he’d pay €30,000,” he added.

 

O’Brien said that his role was to source a vehicle to be used in the killing. He said that Mr Zambra had told him to then burn this vehicle.

 

He testified that he had agreed to this because he had received a death threat from another man over a drugs debt.

 

O’Brien said that, after the meeting, he and the would-be gunman went to an army shop to buy balaclavas to be used in the shooting.

 

He said that they later got a motorbike, which he parked at his sister’s house.

 

O’Brien said that the gunman was substituted before the killing and that he drove the new gunman on the motorbike to get the weapon. He said a third man drove the gunman to the shooting.

 

O’Brien said that the gunman returned to his sister’s house after the shooting. He said he had a burn on his leg from the motorbike exhaust and was shaking.

 

He said this man put the small, black gun into his motorbike helmet.

 

“He said he whacked him,” testified O’Brien.

 

O’Brien said he couldn’t burn the bike that night as ‘there was police everywhere’ due to the pipe bomb that had been planted as a decoy for the shooting.

 

He said he rang Mr Zambra, who told him to meet him in the city centre. He said he met the defendant in a pub and told him that the gunman had told him that ‘it was done’.

 

“He seemed happy,” he said of the accused.

 

O’Brien said that the gardai found the motorbike at his sister’s house the following day and that he was later arrested.

 

He agreed with Patrick Gageby SC, prosecuting, that he had never been charged with this crime and that he had been granted a form of immunity.

 

He confirmed that nothing he said in this case could be used against him. He also confirmed that he was currently in the Witness Protection Programme.

In his opening speech, Mr Gageby had described him as an accomplice and said the case centred on his evidence.

 

The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of eight women and four men.

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