Tuesday 25 June 2019

Accused shot friend dead after row over 'murder plot'

Kenneth O’Brien. Photo: Colin Keegan
Kenneth O’Brien. Photo: Colin Keegan
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

Murder accused Paul Wells broke down in tears in a Garda interview and confessed to shooting Kenneth O'Brien, saying he "lost it" after Mr O'Brien had asked him to kill his partner and to make it look like she had been "sexually abused".

Mr Wells maintained he was asked to shoot Mr O'Brien's partner Eimear Dunne, and when he was told the plan was to "interfere with her clothing", a struggle broke out between the two men.

He said he did not want to kill Mr O'Brien but "panicked" and shot him in the back of the head. Mr Wells (50), of Barnamore Park, Finglas, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr O'Brien (33) at that address between January 15 and 16, 2016.

His dismembered remains were found in a suitcase and shopping bags in the Grand Canal. The Central Criminal Court heard Mr Wells initially denied any involvement.

"My friend Ken had wanted me to kill his partner Eimear Dunne and I told him that in no way was I ever going to harm a woman, especially her," he said in his eighth interview.

He told gardaí he was supposed to meet Mr O'Brien on January 15, 2016 "with a view of organising the murder (of Ms Dunne) that day" but had "no intention" of carrying it out and did not meet him.

That evening, Mr O'Brien had come to his house and "asked me was I going to do that thing for him. I took this to mean to kill Eimear. I then said to him that the whole thing was f***ing crazy and unnecessary".

Mr O'Brien had worked in Australia and wanted to take his son Charlie to live with him there, Mr Wells maintained.

He told gardaí Mr O'Brien "was under some illusion that I was up for doing this thing".

They went out to the yard and Mr O'Brien "already had the plan in his head".

He said Mr O'Brien was to go back to his own house and send a text, "a smiley face, that was a signal that it was clear to go to the house and take a life".

"After I had shot her I was to interfere with her clothing. To give the impression that she had been sexually abused. I f***ing lost it. And I recall pushing him violently," he continued.

Mr O'Brien had shown him the gun. "That was the purpose of meeting him that day, to take delivery of that," he said.

They grappled, he said, and the gun dropped to the floor. "He tried to grab the gun off the floor. I thought if he got the gun he'd shoot me," the defendant said.

"I never seen him like that before, I never thought it was in him, I panicked and I got the gun first and I shot him in the back of the head. I put the gun to his head, I pulled the trigger. I just panicked. I swear I didn't want to kill him, he was my friend."

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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