Saturday 20 July 2019

Father told me not to come home on night victim went missing: son of murder accused

Wells cleaned yard with bleach and a powerhose, court told

Tragic: Kenneth O’Brien, who was shot and dismembered
Tragic: Kenneth O’Brien, who was shot and dismembered
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

One of murder accused Paul Wells's sons said his father told him not to come home the night before Kenneth O'Brien went missing and his torso was found in a suitcase in the Grand Canal.

Mr Wells was outside power-washing his back yard the following morning and later gave his son Gary Wells a bag with a chainsaw in it to pass on to another brother, the Central Criminal Court heard.

After Mr O'Brien's body was found and identified, the "finger of suspicion" was pointing at the accused "even in his own family", the jury heard.

The accused, of Barnamore Park, Finglas, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Kenneth O'Brien (33) at that address between January 15 and 16, 2016.

Mr Wells (50) admitted to gardaí that he shot him dead but said it happened when they struggled during a row after Mr O'Brien turned up at his home with a gun.

The accused claimed Mr O'Brien had wanted to have his own partner, Eimear Dunne, murdered and Mr Wells refused to kill her.

Kenneth’s partner Eimear Dunne. Photo: Collins
Kenneth’s partner Eimear Dunne. Photo: Collins

He said that after he shot Mr O'Brien he "panicked" and dismembered the remains, which were later found in a suitcase and shopping bags in the canal in Co Kildare.

In cross-examination, Ms Dunne agreed with Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, that the accused would call around to her home from time to time "for a chat and a cup of tea" while Mr O'Brien was still working in Australia.

"He used to say, 'Eimear, you know Ken's not coming home'," she said.

In December 2015, she was under the impression Mr O'Brien was definitely staying for good when he returned.

He had said "that he was home for good", she said.

Mr O'Brien seemed "in good form" when he returned in December 2015, his mother Susan O'Brien said.

Gary Wells said that on January 15, 2016, his father brought him to work and "told me not to come home that night".

His father told him again when they arrived and "said he had a friend coming over".

While he was at work, he said, his father "rang me to make sure I wasn't coming home" and was going straight to his partner's house.

When he went home the next morning, his father was out in the back yard, "standing just outside the decking, power-hosing the ground".

There were two bottles of bleach on the decking and he saw a layer of carpet was missing from the shed floor.

The next day, his father gave him a bag and asked him to bring it to his brother Paul Wells Jnr's house.

He formed the view from the shape that there was a chainsaw in it.

His father also gave him shopping bags of rubbish to get rid of. One had a piece of cardboard in it with a red stain.

He agreed with Mr O'Higgins that after Mr O'Brien's body was found, there was "tension" and "even in his own family, the finger of suspicion was pointing at [the accused]".

He said his father had been "very edgy".

Gary Wells said while it was his normal routine to stay over at his partner's house at the weekend, he would usually go home first to change his clothes.

Mr O'Higgins said the accused would say he did not tell Gary Wells he had a friend coming over.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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