Friday 18 October 2019

Jury in Kenneth O'Brien murder trial to resume deliberations in morning

Kenneth O'Brien
Kenneth O'Brien
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

THE jury in the trial of Paul Wells, who is accused of murdering father-of-one Kenneth O'Brien, has been sent home for the night.

The 11 members of the jury had been considering a verdict for just over three hours when Mr Justice Paul McDermott told them to suspend deliberations and resume tomorrow morning.

They have been given three options; they can find the accused guilty of murder, guilty of manslaughter or acquit him outright.

Mr Justice McDermott has told them they must reach their verdict unanimously.

Mr Wells (50), of Barnamore Park, Finglas, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr O’Brien (33) at that address between January 15 and 16, 2016.

He admitted 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 partner Eimear Dunne murdered and Mr Wells refused to kill her.

As they grappled, he said, the gun fell to the ground and he thought Mr O’Brien was going to “shoot me first.”

Mr Wells said he panicked, got the gun and shot Mr O’Brien in the back of the head. He then dismembered his body in the yard, cutting it into 10 pieces with a chainsaw.

He put Mr O’Brien’s torso in a suitcase and his head and limbs in shopping bags, which he threw into the Grand Canal in Co Kildare.

Mr Justice McDermott concluded his charge to the jury this morning, summarising the case and outlining the legal principles.

He reminded the jurors of the series of seven “coincidences” that the defence said supported Wells’ claim that there was a conspiracy to murder Ms Dunne.

The CCTV at Mr O’Brien’s home had worked quite well until January 14 and on January 15 it “wasn’t working at all,” he said.

The access code had been changed and Ms Dunne had given evidence that Mr O’Brien was the only person who could have changed it.

The second “coincidence” was that Ms Dunne’s birthday party, which was to have been held on January 15, was cancelled because of a “lie” that Mr O’Brien was working in Limerick.

The third was that Mr O’Brien, who had no keys, got keys cut on January 14 and Ms Dunne found one on a tall boy in the house.

The fourth was the fact that Mr O’Brien had two phones “on the go.”  The fifth coincidence was that his passport was missing from the safe.

The sixth was the large suitcase that Mr O’Brien gave to Mr Wells and the suggestion that Mr O’Brien had not wanted Ms Dunne to see it being taken.

The last was the removal of phone numbers from Ms Dunne’s phone.

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