Monday 20 November 2017

German who helped to hide body pleads guilty

Niamh O'Donoghue

A GERMAN who helped move and hide a man's body after another man killed him is to be sentenced by Mr Justice Carney next Monday at the Central Criminal Court.

Joachim Pohl pleaded guilty to assisting an offender, assisting in the removal and concealment of the body of Tommy Thompson (pictured), the removal and disposal of personal effects and the cleaning up of his dwelling at Borris Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois, on April 20-21, 2007, and various dates thereafter.

Pohl, of Linton Place, Kilkenny, admitted the offences to gardai after he dreamt he was in jail and his accomplice was "looking in and laughing at him".

Mr Thompson (59), originally from Yorkshire, was a self-employed plasterer who worked on building sites, travelled home fortnightly and sent money back to his family.

Detective Garda Pat Scully told Alex Owens SC prosecuting that Pohl had his own building company and his employee owed money to Mr Thompson.

Mr Thompson was telling other people that they should not hire this man and Pohl was having difficulty in getting work as a result, the court heard.

Shortly after April 20, 2007, Mr Thompson's landlord noticed possessions had gone missing from his Irish base. A garda investigation was begun, bleach was found in Mr Thompson's home and part of the hall door was broken.

On June 5, 2007, Pohl was interviewed at Carlow garda station and he said he had not seen Mr Thompson in more than a year.

In December 2007, Pohl and the other man were arrested on suspicion of the false imprisonment of Mr Thompson, their houses were searched and personal items of the deceased were found.

Both were charged with burglary and granted bail but, in November 2008, the charges were dismissed because of a failure to provide a book of evidence. Three years later Pohl returned voluntarily to Ireland from Germany to co-operate with the authorities on the case.

Pohl told gardai he could show them where the body was buried, at Stradbally, Co Laois. Gardai carried out a forensic examination of the scene.

Pohl told gardai he went to Mr Thompson's house with the other man and the two men started to shout at each other. Mr Thompson pushed the other man against the front door, the man hit him twice on the back of the head with a bale of briquettes and he fell.

Mr Thompson was hog-tied, the court heard. He was placed in a wheelie bin, his van was driven around the back of the property and he was brought out to Durrow, Co Laois.

The other man told Pohl, who was upset, to go home so he did not see him bury Mr Thompson's body.

Irish Independent

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