Saturday 21 April 2018

Murder accused told father that he was going to be framed for something he hadn’t done

THE father of a 27-year-old accused of murdering a man in Co Wicklow three years ago has said his son told him he was going to be framed for something he hadn’t done.

Michael Dickenson, of Darragh Park, Wicklow town has pleaded not guilty to murdering Steven O Meara at Ballydonnell Wood, Red Cross, Co. Wicklow on or about August 6, 2009.

Mr O'Meara, a 26-year-old father-of-three from Rosehill in Wicklow town, was last seen on August 6, 2009.

His body was found by garda in a shallow grave five months later, on Christmas Eve, in an isolated wooded area at Ballydonnell, Red Cross.

It is the prosecution's case that Mr Dickenson drove Mr O'Meara out to the remote Ballydonnell Woods, where he was shot by another man, who then helped the accused drag the body into a very shallow grave.

Today the accused’s father Noel Byrne, gave evidence his sons Michael and Patrick came to see him in a bit of bother.

He told Mr Denis Vaughan-Buckley SC prosecuting that he was told that a chap had gone missing in Wicklow and they were being accused.

Mr Byrne said Michael told him Patrick was in trouble with drugs, that Michael got the drugs from people that he had been in prison with and sold them on but did not pay the people. He said they were looking for him and the amount of money was about €15,000.

He said Michael told him he was driving with his ex-partner earlier that day and a gang of lads jumped on his car and got a bit upset.

Michael said he was going to be framed for something he hadn’t done, said Mr Byrne.

Mr Byrne said he was asked if he could help them get out of the country because these people were after them.

He said tickets were bought on the Internet for the two to go from Rosslare to Fishguard and that he dropped them to the ferry port the next morning.

Under cross-examination by Mr Patrick Marrinan SC defending Mr Byrne agreed that Patrick was doing most off the talking and that Michael got upset and started to cry which he said appeared to be genuine.

He further agreed Patrick had been in prison before, that it was his problem and not Michael’s.

Kyle O’Toole told Mr Paul Carroll BL prosecuting he was hunting rabbits at Ballydonnell Wood on August 4, 2009 when he saw a Honda Civic with yellow and white licence plates drive up.

He said the driver of the vehicle had a peaked cap on and that he also saw a man in a black tracksuit coming out of the wood. He said he was carrying a box two-feet long and one-foot wide walking down and getting into the passenger side of the car.

Under cross-examination by Mr Marrinan he said he recognised the driver from around the roads and that he was clean-shaven, sallow-skinned and had a peaked cap on.

Detective Garda Shane Curran told Mr Carroll he went to Ballydonnell Wood on Christmas Day 2009 where a crime scene tent was erected over a furrow.

He also said he observed a Nike Air Max runner and the leg bones of adult male protruding through the ground.

Det Gda Curran said he saw a badly decomposing body of a male lying face down and most of the flesh of the lower leg was missing.

He said the other runner was under the head of the deceased and the waist of his tracksuit bottoms were around his knees.

The Deputy State Pathologist carried out a preliminary examination and the remains were removed by undertakers in a body bag.

He said it was his impression that a makeshift or clandestine grave had been dug and that the deceased had been rolled into it and covered.

The trial will resume on Monday before jury of seven men and five women presided over by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy.

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