Wednesday 25 April 2018

Murder accused says forehead scratch was caused while shaving

Natasha Reid

A MAN accused of murder denied to gardai that the victim’s girlfriend had inflicted scratches to his arm and faces when she tackled him afterwards.

Garrett O'Brien (34) has pleaded not guilty to murdering father-of-two Séamus O'Byrne 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.

Mr O’Brien has also pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life on the same occasion.

The court has already heard that Mr O’Byrne’s girlfriend, Sharon Rattigan, was shot in the leg as she shouted at his killer to stop. She then tackled the gunman and managed to disarm him.

Detective Garda David Jennings today told Mr O’Brien’s trial that he interviewed the accused on March 18, 2009, the day after his arrest.

He said the defendant was asked how he had got a scratch on his forehead.

“From shaving,” he replied. “My mother doesn’t like my eyebrows meeting.”

He was then asked where he got a scratch he had on his arm.

“Do either of yous recall where you get your scrapes and scratches?” he asked the detectives.

It was then suggested to him that he’d received them from the woman who had pulled the gun off him the previous Friday.

“You can think what you like because I don’t have a gun,” he replied.

“Yes, because we have the gun,” retorted a garda. “You also shot that brave young girl who fought you off. She pulled your hood down, scraped your forehead and looked you straight in the face.”

Mr O’Brien, of of Clover Hill in Bray, Wicklow, described this as ridiculous.

He was asked if he would enter an identification parade and he said he would after speaking to his solicitor.

He had first denied leaving Bray that night, insisting he was in his sister’s house.

“The reason I know for definite where I was is because I’m superstitious,” he said. “I didn’t want to move from there because it was a Friday the 13th.”

However he was later told there was footage of him filling petrol in Rathmines that night.

“I don’t know what to say to that,” he said, asking for a map so he could see where Rathmines was.

“No comment at the moment,” he added, before being shown stills of a man in the petrol station.

“That’s me, yeah,” he said.

He said that he had sold a car days earlier, but had kept a spare key and that he had taken the car that night to go out to buy tablets.

“I didn’t tell you because I was afraid I was going to get done for driving and buying tablets,” he said.

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

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