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Garda murder accused was under curfew and on bail at time of fatal shooting, court heard


Aaron Brady is charged with murder of Adrian Donohoe

Aaron Brady is charged with murder of Adrian Donohoe

Aaron Brady is charged with murder of Adrian Donohoe

The man accused of murdering detective garda Adrian Donohoe was under curfew and on bail facing charges at the time of the fatal shooting, a court has heard.

This afternoon, the jury in the trial of Aaron Brady (29), who denies capital murder, heard evidence of a voluntary statement he gave to gardai 11 days after the killing.

Garda Inspector Mark Phillips, who was then a detective sergeant with the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation at Harcourt Square in Dublin, said that a team had been sent to Dundalk to assist the garda inquiry.

He agreed with Brendan Grehan SC, prosecuting, that Aaron Brady had arrived at Dundalk Garda Station on February 5, 2013 with a solicitor to make a voluntary statement.

Insp Phillips also agreed with counsel that Mr Brady was not under arrest and at that stage was not a suspect. The statement was then read out to the court by Mr Grehan to the Central Criminal Court jury.

The accused told gardai that he had a curfew for around 9pm as part of conditions related to criminal damage and dangerous driving charges he was facing before Dundalk Circuit Court while he was living in Tullydonnell, Co Louth, but that his bail address was another address at a holiday home owned by his grandfather.

In his statement Aaron Brady said that he finished school at 16 after completing his GCSEs and worked as an electrician until he was 18 or 19. He then moved to Australia for four months and later went to the US around the time he turned 20. While there he worked in Boston with one of his best friends he had known from school, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Mr Brady told gardai that when he returned home after three months he worked with his father, Tony Brady, who had an advertising business and was also the chairmen of Crossmaglen Rangers.

Aaron Brady, the court heard, told gardai that he was trying to get money together to pay off compensation in relation to the criminal damage incident.

He said he had "€3,000 bail up" and hoped to get a thousand or two thousand euro extra.

After he finished working with his father, the jury heard, he went on the dole. He also said that he got a claim of around £4,000 from a car accident in Newry, during which the vehicle he was a rear seat passenger in was struck from behind, and that he "lived off that".

The jury were told that in his statement Mr Brady said that he broke his right hand playing GAA two or three years previously and later had two screws and one plate inserted into it during an operation in Belfast on December 7, 2012.

He said it was his "dominant hand" and that he struggled to lift more than 20kg or 30kg with his right hand.

The court heard that at around 2.30am on the morning of January 25, Mr Brady said he and his friend went to collect his then 17-year-old girlfriend from a nightclub in Dundalk.

In this statement he said that he had a fight with his girlfriend because "she was wearing some fella's" hat when she came out of the nightclub.

Mr Brady said he then spent the night at a house in Bellurgan with the friend who he had also worked with in Boston, and they woke up after midday that day.

Aaron Brady and this individual then travelled to Tullydonnell at 1pm where they collected another man known to them, who also cannot be identified for legal reasons, the court heard.

He then said they got food along the Carrickmacross to Castleblayney Road and described the route they took to a closed filling station in Cullaville, Co Armagh, at around 2pm, where they were deciding what they were going to do for the day

The jury of eight men and seven women will continue hearing evidence of the accused's voluntary statement to gardai tomorrow morning.

Aaron Brady (29), of New Road in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, has pleaded not guilty to the capital murder of Adrian Donohoe, who was then a member of An Garda Síochána acting in the course of his duty, at Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Co Louth, on January 25, 2013.

He has also denied the robbery of approximately €7,000 in cash and assorted cheques from Mr Pat Bellew at the same location on the same date.

Earlier Donald Whiteside, a wildlife ranger in Northern Ireland, gave evidence of coming across a burnt out car at Cumsons Road, Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh, the day after the murder.

Mr Whiteside said that on January 26, 2013, he was requested to check out an area of tree felling for environmental or wildlife in the area of Cumsons Road near Fews Forrest.

He was travelling in his 4x4 with his son when they noticed a burnt out car reversed into a gateway at the entrance of a field, the court heard.

The witness agreed with Lorcan Staines SC, prosecuting, that the tyres of the vehicle were smouldering and that the car's bonnet was lukewarm when he touched it.

Mr Whiteside agreed that burnt out cars were left in the area on a weekly basis and that he didn't search the area around the car as it wasn't procedure.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Michael White tomorrow morning.

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