A MAN accused of murdering his partner’s mother described to gardai how he decided to “chop up her body a bit smaller” to make her lighter to lift from a shallow grave he had buried her in.
Kieran Greene (34) said he “spewed” while he was dismembering Patricia O’Connor (61) with a hacksaw in a Wexford cornfield.
He said he drove the remains to the Dublin and Wicklow mountains, stopped and ripped open bags to drop them into the ditch one at a time, then sobbed when he finished, and thought “I’m finally free.”
A Central Criminal Court jury was hearing evidence of a series of four voluntary interviews Mr Greene gave gardai after he “handed himself in” and told them he had killed Ms O’Connor.
Mr Greene, who denies murder, is on trial alongside three other people who are charged with impeding the investigation.
The grandmother's remains were found scattered in 15 parts at nine locations over a 30km-wide area in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains between June 10 and 14, 2017.
Ms O'Connor had died from blunt force trauma to the head caused by at least three blows with a solid implement.
Mr Greene denies murdering Ms O’Connor, the mother of his then-partner Louise O'Connor, at the house they shared at Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, on May 29, that year.
Ms O’Connor’s daughter and granddaughter Louise (41) and Stephanie O’Connor (22), as well as Louise O'Connor's ex-partner, Keith Johnston (43) all deny acting to impede Mr Greene’s apprehension or prosecution.
Stephanie O’Connor is alleged to have disguised herself as her grandmother on the night of her alleged murder to pretend that she was still alive, while her mother Louise is accused of agreeing to this.
Mr Johnston is alleged to have assisted Mr Greene in buying implements to use in the concealment of Patricia O’Connor’s remains, and to have refurbished the bathroom at the house to destroy or conceal evidence.
Evidence of Mr Greene's first interview, at Rathfarnham Garda Station on June 12, 2017, was heard earlier today.
This afternoon, Det Gda David Connolly said he was on duty at the station that day and was aware due to widespread media coverage that body parts had been discovered in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains.
He was aware that Kieran Greene had come to the station and Det Sgt Lucy Myles told him what he had said.
Gardai decided to interview Mr Greene further and told him of his option to consult his solicitor given the seriousness of what he was saying.
“He said he wanted to tell us what happened because it was eating him up,” Det Gda Connolly said.
The interview began at 9.18pm and unlike the first interview, it was recorded on DVD.
When asked if he wanted a solicitor, he said “I’m going to talk to you anyway, so I will and get it over with, I can’t avoid it.”
“I came and handed myself in, I couldn’t live with the guilt," he said. “I kept looking at the kids, I have always wanted them to do the right thing. I told them all what happened.”
Asked about the guilt, he said it was “eating me up,” he could not sleep or eat.
“I keep seeing my kids’ faces,” he said.
On the day, he said he had come back from his mother’s in Tallaght and Patricia O’Connor was saying that the cat had got into her bedroom.
Louise and the kids went to the park, and when they came back later Patricia was fighting again, he said.
She was “moaning again” that nobody was listening to her.
“She said we were leeches, more or less what I was getting for the last 10 years,” he continued.
Patricia “walked out,” and had a case and before she went she said “I’ll be back when Gus pops his clogs,” he told gardai.
He said she said this to her husband, Gus O'Connor.
Shortly after that, everyone else went to bed while he stayed in the sitting room. He was in the bathroom at about midnight, and “the door opened, it was Trish,” he said.
She said “get out,” picked up a hurley and hit him on the arm, he said. “I was trying to block… she kept swinging.”
He said he grabbed the hurley and tried to take it off her and “I just hit her.”
He did not know what happened, but remembered waking up and she was on the ground, on her back.
“I don’t know if I was dreaming, I saw my dead uncle,” he said.
Patricia had probably banged her head on the tiles, he said. They had both been struggling. He drew a sketch of the bathroom for gardai, labelling “Trish” and blood beside her head.
Asked how much blood there was, he said “a cup or so of blood” and it came from her head.
He “panicked” and in case someone came down, he brought her up to her bedroom, where he lay her down on the floor. There were “bits of blood” on the varnished wooden bedroom floor but not as much as downstairs, he said.
Asked if there was any sign of movement from Patricia, he said: “she wasn’t moving, with the blood there, I imagine she was dead, I really don’t know.”
He said he dragged her back down, put her in the car boot and “just drove.”
“I was just trying to get her out of the house,” he said.
Mr Greene was interviewed for a third time at 10.37am on June 13, again voluntarily. He said he had been in the bathroom and when he came out “she was there” and “I got a fright.”
“She was moaning that I never lock the bathroom door,” he said.
She said “get out, get out,” she had a hurl and started hitting him, he said. He got it off her and hit her a few times while they were in the bathroom, “constantly wrestling with the hurl.”
They stumbled and fell down, she hit her head and he fell on top of her.
He said he blacked out and said when he came around he saw the pool of blood beside her head. He did not know how he got her upstairs or where he got the energy. It was “all a blur really.”
“I remember seeing my dead uncle, and he said ‘everything will be alright.’”
He said he grabbed under her arms to lift her.
Gardai asked if someone was looking what would they have seen.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “A bleeding miracle. I don’t know where I got the strength from, she is a lot heavier than me. I think my dead uncle helped me, took over my body or something.”
He said it had been “a long 10 years” and Patricia O’Connor had been “verbally abusive on a constant basis, always threatening to have us killed.”
He told gardai he cleaned the blood from the bedroom floor with bleach and a plastic blade, and the bathroom with a mop, bucket, hot water and bleach.
He again described bringing her to the car.
“I got her body into the boot and then pushed the rest of her in,” he said. He then covered her with a wooly picnic blanket.
As he drove, he said he was “sobbing, wondering what to do, then I decided to just keep going.”
When he got to the cropped field in Wexford, he “found a spot that looked OK.”
“I dug a bit of a hole with my hands and gloves and a bit of a stick,” he said. He placed her in the hole and covered her up with muck.
After a number of days, he said, he ended up going back because “it was playing on my mind that she might be found” and he did not think it would be fair to the farmer, or his partner and children.
He decided to move her “to the mountains or something.” He said he stopped at a garage on the way for petrol, as he had done before and took the same route.
A fourth interview was held at 3.34pm that day.
He said he took some black bags to wrap her in and just move her; he was trying for the best part of an hour, “but I couldn’t.”
He said he took the muck off her with his hands but could not lift her out by the arms or legs. He was “going to throw the towel in” and knock up to the farmer’s house.
“I decided I would have to chop her up a bit smaller to make her lighter,” he said. “I turned her over, she was face down. I started, I did the left leg first and then the other leg, and then started on her arms, one arm and then the other arm. That was the hardest part. I paused for a while, and then I did her head.”
Mr Greene told gardai he “spewed into a bag”, then did “the torso, the body”.
“All I thought of was the kids,” he said.
He was sobbing as he told gardai he put her into bags. After this, he said, he started to load them into the car, then he “gently filled in” where she had been buried.
There were maybe six bags. He drove back, passed the Hellfire Club and after a viewing point he stopped.
“I just opened the bag and it dropped down into the ditch,” he said. “The body part, I don’t know what. I just ripped the bag from the bottom, I was terrified to look.”
He drove on again and did the same again, pulling in and getting another bag. It was about six bags, he said and he did it five or six times - “a body part until everything was gone.”
He said he then threw away the bags, the boot liner, the saw and clothing.
“I got back in the car and sobbed and sobbed, I just thought ‘my kids don’t have to worry anymore, I’m finally free,’” he said.
The gardai asked him from what.
“All the torment and pain she caused,” he replied.
“When the days and weeks went on, it just killed me,” he said.
He told his partner who was “shocked”, as well as other family members.
He said the hurley was among the items he scattered.
Det Gda Connolly said Mr Greene agreed to go with them to the grave site in Wexford later than day. When they got to the field, he saw an area of disturbed earth in the centre of a clearing, which was consistent with what Mr Greene had described.
“I could see what appeared to me to be hair, the colour was light brown,” he said.
He returned to where Mr Greene was waiting by a gateway and at 7.30pm arrested him for the murder of Patricia O’Connor.
Earlier, the jury heard of the first time Mr Greene came to the garda station on June 12, 2012, and the first voluntary interview he gave.
Garda PJ Foley said he was on duty at Rathfarnham Garda Station at 7.15pm on June 12 when he noticed a man sitting in the waiting room. He was “of a nervous disposition” and had his hands to his face, rubbing his face.
The man - Kieran Greene - said he wanted to speak to someone in charge and Gda Foley asked if there was anything he wanted to speak to him about.
“He told me the body up the mountains was that of Patricia O’Connor,” Gda Foley said.
“He told me he had a physical altercation with Patricia O’Connor whereby she hit him with a hurl and he responded by pushing her.”
He said Mr Greene motioned that with his hands and said “she fell back and he said there was blood everywhere.”
Mr Greene had said this happened outside the bathroom and he “took her up the mountains once he saw that she was unresponsive.”
In cross-examination, Gda Foley agreed with Conor Devally SC, for Mr Greene, that in his account, he was recounting what was said and some of this was “garda speak” rather than the terminology Mr Greene would have used.
Detective Sgt Lucy Myles said she brought Mr Greene in the side entrance to the station.
“He said he did want to speak to somebody, that he had done something terrible,” she told the jury.
Asked what he did, he stated “the stuff up the mountains was me.” She asked him what stuff.
“The body parts that were scattered in the Dublin Mountains, I cut them up and I threw them all over the place up there,” he had replied. “He went on to say that he blacked out and didn’t know what happened, and he just threw them all over the mountains.”
Cautioned and asked who the person was, he said “my mother in law, but she isn’t really my mother-in-law, officially.”
He said he was “with her daughter 10 or 11 years and we have three kids together.”
Asked what her name was, he said “Patricia O’Connor” and handed Det Sgt Myles the keys to a Toyota.
“That is the car I used to bring her body away,” he said.
Det Sgt Myles had asked him why he killed her.
He told her he had been getting out of the shower when she started shouting and screaming at him and then she picked up one of the kid’s hurls that was outside the bathroom door and started hitting him with hit. “I grabbed it and hit her back,” he said.
All he remembered next was coming round and “she was lying on the floor with blood everywhere.”
He told Det Sgt Myles he then put her in the boot of the car and brought her to Wexford and buried her.
“But a few days later, I panicked and I went and dug her up,” he had said.
“I cut her up and scattered her over the mountains.”
Det Sgt Myles was aware that the previous Saturday body parts had been found in the Dublin Mountains but it was thought at the time following a post mortem that this may have been a male in his 20s.
She was aware Patricia O’Connor had been reported missing, on June 1.
Mr Greene was very fidgety and upset but was coherent. She decided to conduct a voluntary interview, at 7.45pm.
In the interview, he said “I handed myself in because I felt terrible for what I did.”
He said on the night, “we were fighting over the cat.” He said Louise O’Connor, her father Gus and the kids went out to the park and Patricia O’Connor “came back downstairs and started another fight.”
He said she stormed out the door at about 8.30 to 9pm and Louise, the children and Gus O'Connor went to their bedrooms. Patricia O'Connor then came back at about midnight. After shouting at him, he said she picked up a hurl and hit him with it on the right wrist.
“She kept saying get out, get out,” he said.
“I was trying to protect my face, I grabbed it and hit her,” he said. They then went into the bathroom and “I don’t know what happened then.”
“I woke up and saw blood everywhere,” he said. He panicked and carried her up to her bedroom, bringing her back down after about an hour.
He got her to the car, put her in the boot and put blankets over her. He said he drove out the M50, “all over the place,” past Bray to Wexford before stopping on a narrow road with a farmhouse to the right.
He pulled into an “alcovey thing” and went through a broken gate.
He said he had a shovel and “I dug a little shallow grave, buried her in there, I couldn’t dig that much because of my ribs, it was only about a foot."
He said he went back to the car, got her, put her in and covered her with clay. He then returned to Mountainview Park.
“A few days later, I was panicking,” he said. He went back and “tried to move her” but he wasn’t able and he cut her up there.
“A few pieces, arms, legs, torso, head,” he said, adding that he put her in bags and “scattered the pieces.”
“Everything was thrown up there in the mountains,” he said. “Pieces, clothes, hacksaw.”
He said afterwards, he “tidied up and touched up the paint in the room.”
Asked how he cleaned up the blood, he said he used a mop and water.
“It’s all scattered in bags up that way as well,” he said.
Mr Greene was very upset and Det Sgt Myles stopped a number of times to let him compose himself. He was fidgeting, rubbing his hands and face.
There was “a lot of sweat,” dripping from his face.
Cross-examined, she agreed with Mr Devally that Mr Greene’s account was that he did everything “completely on his own.”
The trial continues.