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DNA of man accused of garda's murder was not found at scene

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Brendan Grehan SC, counsel for the prosecution. Photo: Collins Courts

Brendan Grehan SC, counsel for the prosecution. Photo: Collins Courts

Brendan Grehan SC, counsel for the prosecution. Photo: Collins Courts

The DNA of the man accused of murdering Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was not found at the scene of the fatal shooting, a court has heard.

The trial of Aaron Brady (28) yesterday heard evidence from a DNA expert based at Forensic Science Ireland who tested a number of items recovered at Lordship Credit Union in Co Louth.

Dr Edward Connolly said swabs were taken from cars and items at the scene of the shooting, including an unmarked Toyota Avensis patrol car, a Mazda, a hammer found in this vehicle, a Nissan Micra, a handbag, car keys, cigarette butts and chewing gum.

Dr Connolly said a number of full and partial DNA profiles were recovered from these items which matched elimination samples provided to him by members of An Garda Síochána, or other witnesses at the scene.

He also said three complete DNA profiles of unknown males were recovered from inside the driver door of the Toyota car, a piece of chewing gum and a cigarette butt.

These samples, the court heard, were added to the DNA database but no matches were found.

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Michael O'Higgins SC, defence counsel. Photo: Collins Courts

Michael O'Higgins SC, defence counsel. Photo: Collins Courts

Dr Connolly said he also analysed items recovered from a burnt-out car, which the court previously heard was a Volkswagen Passat, found at Cumsons Road in Co Armagh two days after the murder.

The jury was told this included a shotgun cartridge, Mary Black and Lady Gaga CDs, crisp packets, a plastic bag and a cable tie. Dr Connolly said the items were smoke damaged and no full DNA profile was recovered.

Under cross-examination, he agreed with defence counsel Fiona Murphy SC that Mr Brady's DNA profile did not match samples taken from any of the items he had tested.

A shed adjacent to Lordship Credit Union was also analysed as well as the outside front door of a house in Clogherhead, Co Louth, where a burglary took place on January 23 resulting in a Volkswagen Passat being stolen, the court heard. No DNA profiles were obtained from either of these locations.

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Det Gda Adrian Donohoe

Det Gda Adrian Donohoe

The trial continues this morning at the Central Criminal Court before Justice Michael White and the jury of eight men and seven women.

Mr Brady is charged with the murder of Det Gda Donohoe, who was then a member of An Garda Síochána acting in the course of his duty, at the Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Co Louth, on January 25, 2013.

He is also charged with the robbery of around €7,000 in cash and assorted cheques from Pat Bellew at the same location on the same date.

He has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Shotgun

Yesterday, Detective Garda Seamus O'Donnell, of the ballistic section in the Garda Technical Bureau, continued giving evidence.

He had previously told the jury that he carried out tests to determine the distance Det Gda Donohoe (41) was shot from, and that these tests established the range as being between 6ft and 7ft.

In cross-examination by Ms Murphy, he agreed that a choke device can be applied to a shotgun that keeps the pellets grouped together longer after discharge and can effect the range.

He also told the court most shotguns have a relatively high degree of recoil upon discharge.

He said that if a shotgun is not secured onto the shoulder the firearm could lift.

Irish Independent