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Man on trial for double murder ‘star witness against himself’, court told

A DUBLIN man on trial for a double murder is ‘the star witness against himself’, according to the lawyer prosecuting him.

Brendan Grehan SC was delivering his closing speech at the Central Criminal Court today in the trial of a 24-year-old man charged with murdering two family friends.

Gary Howard (24) of Emerald Street, in the inner city, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Patrick Mooney (58) and Brendan Molyneux (46) on January 10, 2010.

They were found shot dead that Sunday evening in Mr Mooney’s flat at Pearse House, Hanover Street, Dublin. Gary Howard was arrested that night and detained at Kevin Street Garda Station for five days.

Mr Grehan told the jury that the core evidence on which the prosecution relied were the confessions made by the accused during his time in garda custody.

“The critical evidence came from the mouth of the accused,” he said. “The accused in this case is the star witness against himself.”

The trial heard that Mr Howard initially denied having carried out the killings, but then admitted to them. He then attempted suicide and retracted his admissions, before making them again and retracting a final time.

Mr Grehan told the jurors that they had observed the demeanour of the accused when they watched the video recordings of his first admissions.

“He’s smoking; he’s drinking his coke, walking around, flicking the ash of his clothes,” he noted. “He tells the gardai he may have more to tell them once he sees his ma and solicitor and gets some exercise.”

He also said that Mr Howard’s description of the wounds he inflicted on both men corresponded with what the State Pathologist found in their post-mortem exams.

He said he was able to give ‘chapter and verse’ on why someone had wanted one of the men dead.

He reminded the jury of a graphic account the defendant had given of a threat made against him and his child if he did not kill the men. However he pointed out that such duress was not a defence for murder in this country.

He said that Mr Howard’s description of wearing gloves and changing his clothes afterwards was significant in terms of the lack of firearms residue found on him when arrested.

The jury had earlier heard that no firearms residue was found on the accused; however residue was found on both his uncle and father, who were at the scene.

Mr Grehan reminded the jury that the accused again gave a lot of detail in the admissions he made after his initial retractions, including the drawing of a map.

“He describes the gun size and length and offers to bring the gardai to Pearse House to show them how it happened,” he said. “He again set out in detail why he did it.”

He noted that Mr Howard was clearly distressed during these admissions and threw up and that he apologised to the families of the deceased men at the end of the interview.

The trial heard that Mr Howard later told gardaí that his confession had been “all lies” and that he had said what gardaí wanted him to say.

“The prosecution say you can put no credence on the retractions,” said Mr Grehan, adding that one would ‘want to be the best Oscar winning actor in the world’ to make such admissions if they weren’t true.

“That’s gut-wrenching stuff,” he said.

“The only conclusion that you can come to is that the accused is the person who executed Brendan Molyneux and Paddy Mooney,” he concluded, calling for a verdict of guilty on both counts.

The jury of six women and five men will hear from the defence today, before being charged by Mr Justice Paul Carney.