Friday 22 February 2019

Murder accused shot Kenneth O'Brien after he 'asked him to kill his partner and make it look like she'd been sexually abused', court hears

Kenneth O’Brien had been ‘living like a king in Australia’, according to Paul Wells who is accused of murder.
Kenneth O’Brien had been ‘living like a king in Australia’, according to Paul Wells who is accused of murder.
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

MURDER accused Paul Wells broke down in tears in a garda interview and confessed to shooting Kenneth O’Brien, saying he “lost it” after Mr O’Brien asked him to kill his partner and make it look like she had been “sexually abused.”

Mr Wells maintained he was asked to shoot Mr O’Brien’s partner Eimear Dunne, and when he was told the plan was to “interfere with her clothing,” a struggle broke out between the two men.

He said he did not want to kill Mr O’Brien but “panicked” and shot him in the back of the head. Mr Wells told gardai he passed out and woke up, covered in blood.

The jury in his trial was shown a video of the garda interview this afternoon.

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

He said after he shot Mr O’Brien, he “panicked” and dismembered the remains, which were later found in a suitcase and shopping bags in the canal in Co Kildare.

Earlier, the jury heard evidence of seven interviews Mr Wells gave at Naas Garda Station on February 6, 7 and 8, 2016, after he was arrested on suspicion of murder.

In those interviews, he initially denied any involvement in Mr O’Brien’s death before declining to reply to questions.

The jury heard after the seventh interview was finished, Det Gda Declan O’Brien was accompanying Mr Wells to his cell through the garda station. They walked through the public office and Mr Wells stopped in the passageway.

“I’ll tell you everything in the morning,” he said. “There is a whole bigger picture behind this, there is a lot of money involved, up to 750,000 Australian Dollars. There was a very wealthy man out in Australia because of what happened.

“What happened to Kenneth is tearing me asunder and I have not slept or eaten for a month. I’ll tell you where the gun is. My son Paul had nothing to do with this.”

He repeated: “I’ll tell you everything in the morning.”

Later that night, he also spoke to the sergeant in charge of the station.

The following morning, he told gardai in interview he was overwhelmed by the guilt, “my feelings for Ken’s parents, Eimear, little Charlie, what Eimear’s family must be going through, all this and of course my own family.”

He said he had asked the sergeant in charge to tell his son Paul Jnr “I’m glad he turned me in.”

“I explained my friend Ken had wanted me to kill his partner Eimear Dunne and I told him that in no way was I ever going to harm a woman, especially her,” he said.

He told gardai he was supposed to meet Kenneth on January 15, 2016 “with a view of organising the murder (of Ms Dunne) that day” but he had had “no intentions of carrying out what he wanted me to do” and did not meet him.

“That evening, in and around 5.10pm, Kenneth O’Brien came to my house alone,” he said. “I brought him into the house and I made coffee for both of us.

“He asked me was I going to do that thing for him. I took this to mean to kill Eimear. I then said to him that the whole thing was f**king crazy and unnecessary.”

Mr Wells told gardai Mr O’Brien “was under some illusion that I was up for doing this thing that he wanted done.”

“I told him that there was no way I could ever undertake under any circumstances such a thing and I pleaded with him to reconsider what he was at,” he said.

He said Mr O’Brien reminded him that he didn’t want to stay in Ireland, that all he wanted was (his son) Charlie.

They went outside to the decking in the yard and Mr O’Brien “already had the plan in his head the way that he wanted things done,” the accused continued.

He said Mr O’Brien’s plan was to go back to his own house before 7pm and take his son out and send a text.

“It would be a smiley face, that was a signal that it was clear to go to the house and take a life,” he said before weeping.

“After I had shot her, he wanted me to, and this was the worst part for me, aside from what he asked me, was that I was to interfere with her clothing. To give the impression that she had been sexually abused. I f**king lost it. And I recall pushing him violently,” he continued.

They struggled, he said, Mr O’Brien was a lot stronger than him.

Mr O’Brien had shown him the gun, “that was the purpose of meeting him that day, to take delivery of that,” he said.

They grappled with each other and both of them “flipped over and somehow we lost out footing off the step of the decking. “

“I ended up behind him, we were sitting, sort of in a rowing boat...I was trying to wrap my legs around him. The gun dropped to the floor. He tried to grab the gun off the floor. I thought if he got the gun he’d shoot me. I never seen him like that before I never thought it was in him I panicked and I got the gun first and I shot him in the back of the head. I put the gun to his head, I pulled the trigger. I just panicked. I swear I didn’t want to kill him, he was my friend.”

He told gardai Mr O’Brien was killed instantly.

Mr Wells said he fell back towards him and he passed out and became disorientated.

When he came around, Mr O’Brien was not moving and “blood was all over me.”

He pulled Mr O’Brien into the shed and “lay on the ground for hours with him. I lost track of time. I was cursing at him for putting us in the situation, I couldn’t believe it.”

His clothes were “destroyed with blood” and he did not know how long he lay on the floor.

“The blood was flowing from (Mr O’Brien’s) head onto the carpet and out under the door, he said. “We stayed there on the ground, the both of us. I was losing my mind. I don’t know what time it was, I don’t know how long I was on the ground for but I became aware that anyone could call into the house. I was rigid, I couldn’t move.”

“After a while I sort of started thinking about my survival and my family,” Mr Wells continued. “I started to take my clothes off in the shed. I went into the house, I left Kenneth in the shed.”

He was freezing cold, in his boxers and his socks were drenched, wet right through.

“I left everything I had on me on top of Kenneth. I walked into the kitchen. I washed my hands, my face, put my head under the tap. I got a tea towel from the second drawer. I was in a daze, I didn’t know what the fuck was going on, I hadn’t a f**king clue.”

He got changed and returned to the shed, “my mind racing.”

“I thought about giving myself up, trying to explain what happened. All I could think about was Andrew, my son. I felt a little bit ashamed that I would be thinking about my son and that I was after taking the life of someone else’s, I didn’t mean it, I didn’t intend it.”

He said he put his own clothes in a black bag and went to take Mr O’Brien’s clothes and jacket off.

Mr Wells said tried to lift him but he was too heavy.

He said he went back into the yard to get Mr O’Brien’s baseball cap and when he returned, he noticed the shed door closing ajar  - the gun was on the ground.

“I picked up the gun and I threw it into the shed. There was a very very strong smell, not a pleasant smell but I remember feeling sick and I went down on my hands and knees outside the shed and I vomited,” he said.

“I got sick so much I was straining. My back, my chest my face were burning. I eventually got up off the ground and I went back into the shed. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, bring him to the house, the place would have been destroyed, where was i going to bring him, how was I going to do it how would I explain? There was a million things going through my head.

“I was thinking about my family I thought about Eimear, little Charlie, Ken’s family. It was like a carousel in my brain, the same thing over and over,” he said.

The trial continues.

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