Monday 19 February 2018

Caller told gardai: I killed the devil and put him in a barrel, trial hears

Niamh O'Donoghue

A murder trial jury has heard a recording of a 999 call in which the caller told gardai that he had killed the devil.

The tape was played at the Central Criminal Court yesterday in the trial of a Clare man charged with murdering a 21-year-old student in the county two years ago.

Joe Heffernan (33) of Cappagh Beg, Barefield, Ennis, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Eoin Ryan at that address on June 7, 2011.

Bernard Condon, prosecuting, described the deceased as an accomplished young man.

The youngest of three, he had finished university and travelled around Europe before returning home to Newhall in Clare.

"He had been out on the night of the 6th of June with two girl friends," Mr Condon explained.

"Eoin had come out. He was a young gay man."

He said that the deceased and his two female friends ended up in a pub. Alone in the same pub was the accused, an only child who lived and worked on the family farm in Cappagh Beg, he said.

"In the early hours, Eoin appears to have disappeared out of the company of the two girls and appears to have gone in a taxi with the accused out to Cappagh Beg," he said.

He told the jury that Mr Heffernan rang the gardai at 6.05am to say he had killed someone.

Two 999 calls were later played to the jury, who were also given transcripts of the calls.

"Hello. This is Joe Heffernan. I'm after killing a man," the caller told Garda Claire O'Shaughnessy, who identified her voice on the first recording.

"He came on to me and I killed him. I'm not gay or nothing you know," he said.

The caller said he didn't mean to kill anyone.

Garda Niall Cosgrave then gave evidence of receiving a second 999 call.

"I killed the devil," said the caller. "The devil came for me but I took him . . .

"I put him in a barrel."

"Who?" asked Gda Cosgrave. "The devil," replied the caller.

"How did you know it was the devil?" asked the garda.

"His eyes," he replied.

Gda Cosgrave said that he later received a call from Mr Ryan's father to say his son had not come home the night before.

Mr Condon told the jury that the gardai had already found Mr Ryan's body upside down in a barrel in a field in Cappagh Beg.

"This man was essentially beaten to death," he said.

"A socket wrench was found. The blood of Eoin Ryan was found on that," he added.

Garda Paul Crowley of the Clare Divisional Crime Unit later agreed with the defence that he saw a large amount of religious portraits in Mr Heffernan's house when he examined the scene.

He also agreed that he found a number of books about communicating with the dead in his bedroom.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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