| 21°C Dublin

Man charged with murder told arresting detective that Gardai made ‘error’

A 34-year-old Wicklow man charged with murdering a young father told his arresting detective that the Gardaí had made ‘a catastrophic error’, his trial has heard.

Father-of-two Séamus O'Byrne was shot five times in front of his girlfriend and baby son outside their home at Tymon Park North, Tallaght in Dublin.

Garrett O’Brien of Clover Hill in Bray has pleaded not guilty to murdering the 27-year-old and to possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life on March 13 2009.

Detective Garda Camon Ryan gave evidence to the Central Criminal Court today of arresting Garrett O’Brien for the murder.

“Yous made a catastrophic error,” said the defendant in reply to his arrest on March 4, 2010.

D Gda Ryan said that a sergeant then charged Mr O’Brien with the murder and the defendant told this sergeant: “They have made a serious error.”

The jury also heard from a forensic scientist, who said he found firearms residue on samples taken from what Gardaí had suspected to be the getaway car.

Dr Thomas Hannigan analysed samples from a blue 06 WW Volkswagen Passat, which matched the description of the getaway car given by witnesses.

He testified that samples taken from the driver’s door, seatbelt and cockpit area tested positive for firearms residue.

He said he compared this residue with the discharged rounds of ammunition found at the scene.

“They were similar in terms of the range of elements present,” he said. “It’s consistent with having come from that source.”

However, he said he couldn’t exclude the possibility of it having come from another source.

“The residue evidence provided strong support for the proposition that the gunman left the scene in the Passat,” he added later.

The trial has already heard that an unspent bullet found in the passenger door pocket of the Passatt was the same make and model used in the murder weapon.

The trial continues before Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley and a jury of eight men and four women.