| 4.3°C Dublin

Husband admits he knew wife was dead when he reported her missing


Augustine 'Gus' O'Connor. PIC: Collins Courts

Augustine 'Gus' O'Connor. PIC: Collins Courts

Augustine 'Gus' O'Connor. PIC: Collins Courts

Patricia O'Connor's husband admitted to falsely reporting to gardaí that she was missing when he knew she was already dead, a jury has heard.

Augustine O'Connor (75) entered his guilty plea before the trials of four people charged over his wife's death got under way.

While Mr O'Connor, known as Gus, has been referred to in evidence throughout the trial, the jury did not know before yesterday he has admitted a charge of impeding the apprehension of an offender.

The jury was told of his plea as the prosecution closed its case in the joint trial of murder accused Kieran Greene and three other people. Mr Greene's then-partner and Patricia's daughter Louise O'Connor (41), her ex-boyfriend Keith Johnston (43) and their daughter Stephanie O'Connor (22) are charged with impeding a murder prosecution.

The four have pleaded not guilty and their trial continues at the Central Criminal Court.

Patricia O'Connor (61), a grandmother of seven, was allegedly murdered on May 29, 2017 at the house at Mountain View Park, Rathfarnham, she shared with family including her husband, their daughter Louise, granddaughter Stephanie and Mr Greene.

Her dismembered remains were found scattered in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains between June 10 and 14 that year. She died from blunt force trauma to the head caused by at least three blows from a solid implement.

Inspector Brian O'Keeffe agreed with defence barrister Conor Devally SC that in Garda interviews in June 2017, Mr Greene said he acted alone in a physical altercation with Patricia O'Connor, in removing her from the house, covering up or hiding her presence and subsequently returning to dismember her body and distribute the remains.

Other factors emerged and Gus O'Connor and others were arrested in September. Mr O'Connor was arrested under suspicion of involvement in murder and was released after questioning.

On December 9, Mr Greene made a new statement.

After that, two hacksaws and an axe were found in a search at the river Dodder and Mr Johnston was re-arrested.

The co-accused, including Gus O'Connor, were charged on October 18, 2018.

On the first day the trial was listed, Mr O'Connor pleaded guilty to making a report "that his wife was missing on June 1, 2017 when he knew she was already dead, impeding the apprehension of an offender or perpetrator", Mr Devally said.

Only Mr Johnston was re-arrested in the wake of what was found at the river bank.

Gus O'Connor was invited to react to what Mr Greene had said about him in his December interview, the jury heard.

Insp O'Keeffe agreed with prosecutor Roisin Lacey that when Mr Greene initially admitted "something awful", gardaí believed that the torso that had been found was that of a male.

The trial continues before the jury and Mr Justice Paul McDermott.

Irish Independent