Monday 18 February 2019

Father was killed in an 'execution', court is told

Kenneth O'Brien
Kenneth O'Brien
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

Father-of-one Kenneth O'Brien was "executed efficiently" in a premeditated killing and his body "desecrated", a murder trial has been told.

Sean Gillane SC, prosecuting, told jurors they had been invited "down a rabbit hole of lies and deceit" by Mr O'Brien's friend Paul Wells.

Mr Wells (50) has admitted he shot Mr O'Brien (33) but claims the gun went off during a struggle after Mr O'Brien turned up at his home armed.

Yesterday, his defence counsel Michael O'Higgins SC insisted that the evidence the killing was a planned execution "does not add up".

Mr O'Brien was a "deeply flawed character" and there were "suspicious" factors leading up to his death, the barrister added.

Both sides were delivering their closing speeches in the Central Criminal Court trial of Mr Wells, of Barnamore Park, Finglas.

The accused has claimed that the row which ended in Mr O'Brien's death in January 2016 happened because he had wanted to have his partner Eimear Dunne murdered and Mr Wells refused to kill her.

After Mr O'Brien was shot, Mr Wells dismembered his body in the yard with a chainsaw, and threw the remains in the Grand Canal.

Yesterday, prosecution evidence closed after one more defence witness gave evidence and three more statements were read out to the jury.

Patrick Bogey said he was Mr O'Brien's best friend and on one occasion he walked into his shed and saw him working on pipe bombs.

The court also heard a woman called Aisling Walsh told gardaí of a relationship she had with Mr O'Brien while she was working in Australia.

In his closing speech, Mr Gillane told the jurors that Mr O'Brien had been shot in the back of the head and the accused's suggestion that he acted in self-defence did not make sense.

Mr O'Higgins said that Mr O'Brien had shown a "disregard for life" and asked the jury to consider several factors in considering Mr Wells' claim that Mr O'Brien wanted to have his partner killed.

The prosecution had not sought to advance any reason why the killing occurred and the jury had not heard about it because "the evidence isn't there to support it - you are left with a blank," he said.

The defence closing speech is due to conclude today.

Irish Independent

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