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Murder accused denies returning to crime scene in search of phone

A 34-YEAR-OLD man accused of murder has denied returning to the crime scene to look for a phone dropped during the shooting.

Garrett O'Brien has pleaded not guilty to murdering Dublin father-of-two Séamus O'Byrne and to possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life on March 13, 2009.

A man wearing a hooded tracksuit shot the 27-year-old five times in front of his girlfriend and baby son in the driveway of their home at Tymon Park North in Tallaght.

The Central Criminal court has already heard that Mr O’Byrne’s girlfriend, Sharon Rattigan, tackled the gunman and disarmed him. Due to the struggle, the killer left behind a mobile phone, which the prosecution says belonged to Garrett O’Brien.

Detective Garda John Stack told his trial today that he and a colleague interviewed the accused on March 18, 2009, the day after his arrest.

He said they asked him about leaving his phone at the scene and that Mr O’Brien replied that he was always losing phones because his head was empty from all the valium he took.

He was asked why he had sent a text message to the phone just before 10pm on the night of the murder, telling the recipient not to ring it as it had been stolen.

“I remember sending it to every number in my phonebook,” he replied. “I must have had my number in my phone book.”

D Gda Stack said he was also told that a member of the public reported his car as being driven suspiciously in Castle Lawns, Tallaght later that night.

“I don’t believe you,” replied Mr O’Brien.

“You’d the stupidity to drive back to Tallaght in your own car, looking for your phone or whatever,” remarked one of the detectives. “You’re just not hit man material.”

“I definitely am not,” he replied. “I had nothing to do with it at all.”

Mr O’Brien, of Clover Hill, Bray, Wicklow was also asked if the victim’s girlfriend had been responsible for a scratch on his forehead.

He said he had caused this himself while shaving, as his mother told him that eyebrows joining was a sign of madness.

“I didn’t know the power of a Mach 3,” he said.

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