Thursday 18 July 2019

Murder accused asked to see O'Brien's partner to tell her 'the truth', court hears

Kenneth’s partner Eimear Dunne. Photo: Collins
Kenneth’s partner Eimear Dunne. Photo: Collins
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

MURDER accused Paul Wells told gardai under questioning that he “didn’t plan to hurt” Kenneth O’Brien and asked to see the deceased’s partner so he could tell her “the truth,” a jury has heard.

Mr Wells made the request during his seventh interview after being arrested on suspicion of murdering Mr O’Brien, whose dismembered body had been found in a suitcase and shopping bags in the Grand Canal.

He declined to comment when gardai put it to him that he told one of his sons he had shot Mr O’Brien in the head and “had to take a chainsaw to him.”

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 has 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 own partner Eimear Dunne murdered and Mr Wells refused to kill her.

Tragic: Kenneth O’Brien, who was shot and dismembered
Tragic: Kenneth O’Brien, who was shot and dismembered

He said after he shot Mr O’Brien, he “panicked” and dismembered the remains.

Today, the jury was shown a video of Mr Wells' seventh interview at Naas Garda Station, on February 8, 2016.

Gardai put it to Mr Wells that his son Paul Wells Jnr told them about a conversation with his father. Referring to Mr Wells Jnr’s statement, a garda told the accused: “you did try to explain that you were sorry, that you had no choice… so you’re back there again apologising for it. So you must have been under some severe pressure to carry out the action that was carried out. Leaving aside what happened to the body afterwards because he was dead at that stage.”

The interviewer put it to Mr Wells: “A split second decision where you pulled the trigger in the back of his head and you shot him, there is no going back from that.”

The interviewer told Mr Wells he believed the choice that he made was a “very hard one.”

“No comment at this time,” he replied.

He put it to Mr Wells that he had told his son that “when it goes to court that you don’t want anyone there.”

He said he did not think his family “would let you down.”

He said Mr Wells had had another conversation with his son and asked could he talk about that, to which Mr Wells replied: “no comment.”

“You told Paul Jnr that you shot Kenneth in the head, that you had to take the chainsaw to him because you couldn’t carry him” an interviewing garda said. “That is hard to listen back to… Paul, open up to me and talk about it. Paul, you told your own son about it, right? That was a far more difficult thing to do.”

“I’m not saying anything at this time,” he replied. “I will talk to you.”

The interviewer asked him what happened in the house.

“I won’t say anything at this time,” he replied.

It was put to him that his house and shed were being forensically examined, and “you know what science can do in this day and age”.

“You have to take ownership of it now,” the garda said.

“I’m worn out,” Mr Wells replied, before continuing to say “no comment at this time.”

Transcripts of the interview were then given to the jury after the audio became indistinct.

In the interview, gardai put it to Mr Wells that people had said they saw a chainsaw at his house. A chainsaw had been recovered, they said, and scientific tests would be done on it.

“Nothing to say at this time,” he said.

He was asked if he had a chainsaw in the house.

“I wouldn’t have ever hurt Kenneth, he was my friend,” he replied, adding that he had “no desire to hurt him.”

“I didn’t plan to hurt him,” Mr Wells told gardai.

“OK, so it wasn’t a plan, but then what happened?” he was asked.

“Nothing to say at this time,” Mr Wells replied to that, and to further questions about why people had said he had a chainsaw in his house.

“The bottom line you have to remember is the chainsaw was recovered,” the interviewer said.

The forensic examination of the chainsaw would be presented to him, along with how it got to where it was, who it went through and who handled it, the garda said.

“I have no comment at this time, I’m tired,” Mr Wells replied.

Near the end of the interview, Mr Wells asked if he would be permitted to see Eimear Dunne or her sister Siobhan.

The gardai asked him why he wanted to see them.

“They need to know the truth,” he said.

“What is the truth?” gardai asked.

“I will tell you, I just need to be able to face them,” he said.

The interviewer said they would have to ask “our bosses” but did not know if it would be allowed.

“What you have to think here is, Eimear has been through a traumatic situation,” the garda said.

Mr Wells replied that was why he had asked to see her or her sister.

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

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