Tuesday 24 April 2018

Bog murder accused says he is victim of a family conspiracy

Victim: Bruno Lemes de Sousa
Victim: Bruno Lemes de Sousa
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

A BRAZILIAN man accused of murdering a fellow countryman in a remote bog has claimed he is the victim of a conspiracy, a court has heard.

Wenio Rodriguez da Silva (29) denies murdering 28-year-old Bruno Lemes de Sousa at Shronowen Bog, Tullamore, Listowel, Co Kerry, on February 16 or 17, 2012.

Mr de Sousa was stabbed 64 times and his body was dumped in a drain, where he was found almost one month later. His hands had been bound.

The Central Criminal Court in Tralee heard that Mr da Silva, of Ardoughter, Ballyduff, Co Kerry, was implicated by his co-accused and his family.

John Paul Cawley (20), also of Ardoughter, Ballyduff, denies Mr de Sousa's murder but has admitted his manslaughter.

Mr Cawley's defence team put a partial defence before the jury on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to Mr Cawley's low IQ.

Mr Cawley's sister, Sandra, is the ex-partner of Mr da Silva, who is the father of one of her two children.

Mr Cawley's brother, Charlie Cawley, was also a witness in the case.

Defence counsel for Mr da Silva, John Peart, referred to a "Cawley conspiracy" and accused the Cawley family of "preying" on his client to save themselves.

He said Mr da Silva admitted striking Mr de Sousa's head with a spanner at the house in Ballyduff but did not kill him.

Evidence given by Sandra Cawley and a statement by John Paul Cawley that Mr da Silva had stabbed the victim was "scurrilous", he said.

Mr Peart said the three Cawley siblings and Ms Cawley's two children were all at the bog when Mr de Sousa was killed and had ample opportunity to release him when he was held at their home.

Previously the trial heard that a bench warrant had been issued for John Paul's arrest on suspicion of stabbing another sister's boyfriend and that he had come to live with his sister and her partner, Mr da Silva, to avoid detection. Mr Peart claimed this was why the Cawleys had not gone to the gardai.

Senior counsel for Mr Cawley, Anthony Sammon, said Mr Peart's theory was "an insult to the intelligence of the jury".

The jury is expected to begin its deliberations this morning.

Irish Independent

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