Saturday 17 August 2019

DNA hair test matched dog from stolen Volkswagen, Ryan murder trial hears

Paul O’Beirne. PIC: Collins Courts
Paul O’Beirne. PIC: Collins Courts
In court: Dr Rebecca Weld, an animal DNA profiler, leaves the Central Criminal Court after giving evidence in the trial of Paul O’Beirne. Photo: Collins

Eoin Reynolds

A scientist matched dog hairs taken from a car seat cover found at a murder accused's home to a bulldog belonging to a man whose car was stolen five months before the murder, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Dr Rebecca Weld yesterday told prosecution counsel Paul Burns SC that she has a PhD in animal identification and in 2016 was a director with Weatherbys DNA laboratories.

On July 26, 2016, she examined DNA samples from a black cocker spaniel named Lily and an English bulldog named Bailey. She compared them with black and white hairs taken from a cover or sheet of tarpaulin that gardaí have said was recovered from a bin in the garden of Paul O'Beirne, one of the two men accused of murdering 25-year-old Vincent 'Vinnie' Ryan.

Dr Weld said a partial DNA profile was generated from one of the white hairs found on the cover that matched the DNA profile from the English bulldog. She said the chance of finding the same profile from a dog other than Bailey would be one in one billion.

Last Friday, Joseph Cogan told Mr Burns that his car, a silver Volkswagen Golf GTI, was stolen from outside his home on October 13/14, 2015.

In his opening to the jury, Mr Burns said it is part of the prosecution case that the shots that killed Mr Ryan were fired from a silver Volkswagen Golf.

Mr Cogan told Mr Burns that in the boot of his car was a grey canvas sheet that he used to protect his car from dog hairs. He said he owned a fawn or blonde bulldog and a black cocker spaniel, and the canvas "would have been covered in hairs".

Mr Cogan was shown the canvas that gardaí have said they took from the bin at Mr O'Beirne's home. He said it looked "very similar" to the one that was in his car.

In court: Dr Rebecca Weld, an animal DNA profiler, leaves the Central Criminal Court after giving evidence in the trial of Paul O’Beirne. Photo: Collins
In court: Dr Rebecca Weld, an animal DNA profiler, leaves the Central Criminal Court after giving evidence in the trial of Paul O’Beirne. Photo: Collins

He also confirmed that on April 14, 2016, he gave gardaí permission to take a buccal swab, used in DNA testing, and hair samples from his dogs.

Sergeant Niall Phelan told Mr Burns that he took possession of two wheelie bins that had been seized from Mr O'Beirne's address on March 20, 2016.

He said he opened the green bin and took out the grey tarpaulin cover. Dr Hilary Clarke, of Forensic Science Ireland, told Mr Burns she took what she believed to be black and white dog hairs from the cover on April 28, 2016, and placed them in tamper-evident bags.

Paul O'Beirne (36), of Colepark Drive, Ballyfermot, and Jeffrey Morrow (37), of Burnell Court, Coolock, have pleaded not guilty to murdering 25-year-old Mr Ryan at McKee Road, in Finglas, on February 29, 2016.

Sergeant Patrick Traynor told Mr Burns that on March 15, 2016, he and other gardaí went to Mr O'Beirne's home at Colepark Drive, Ballyfermot.

Gardaí had a search warrant and were let in by a woman living at the address. Sgt Traynor said he searched the back garden and found burnt remains in a barbecue that included a partially burnt mobile phone.

Inspector Gavin Ross told Mr Burns that Mr O'Beirne was in the house asleep when gardaí executed the warrant at about 7.03am.

He said he took a Samsung mobile phone from Mr O'Beirne and another Samsung belonging to the female living at the address. He also noticed there was a CCTV camera installed at the front door hooked up to a hard drive.

He seized the system, and when gardaí looked at it at a Garda station, Inspector Ross said it appeared to have been tampered with. He said: "The hard drive had been physically removed."

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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