PATRICIA O’Connor’s daughter denied that her account of what happened on the night her mother was allegedly murdered was a “web of lies," a jury heard.
Louise O’Connor told gardai she never saw her mother’s dead body wrapped in blankets at her house, and her daughter Stephanie “didn't dress up as my ma” to pretend she was still alive.
She was being interviewed after she was arrested on suspicion of murdering her mother when she said there was no “big plot.”
Four people are on trial at the Central Criminal Court over Patricia O’Connor’s death in 2017. Louise O’Connor's then-partner Kieran Greene (34) is charged with murder, while Louise (41), her daughter Stephanie (22) and Louise’s ex partner Keith Johnston (43) are accused of impeding the investigation.
They all deny the charges.
Patricia O’Connor (61), a grandmother-of-seven was allegedly murdered on May 29, 2017 at the house at Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham she shared with family including her daughter, granddaughter Stephanie and Mr Greene.
Her remains were found scattered in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains between June 10 and 14, that year.
The charge against Stephanie O’Connor is that she disguised herself as her grandmother on the night of the alleged murder to pretend that she was still alive on May 29, while her mother Louise is accused of agreeing to this.
Yesterday, the jury heard Louise O’Connor was brought to Bray Garda Station after she was arrested on September 2 on suspicion of murdering her mother. She was interviewed three times that day and gardai showed her CCTV footage of the outside of her house from May 29.
This morning, the jury heard of her fourth and fifth interviews in which she was asked about a person seen coming in the back door of the house at 10.05pm that night.
Asked if this person had light-coloured hair, she said it was a “white blur.” There was an alley to the side of the house.
The CCTV cameras did not show that person leaving the house, gardai put to her. The gardai suggested this person was “avoiding the camera” and asked who it was.
“Houdini or someone,” she said. “I don’t know who they are, I see a big splodge.”
The gardai said it was “not magic.” Louise asked if the gardai were saying her mother came back in the back.
“No, I’m not saying that,” the garda said. “The person who left with the suitcase came back in the back.”
A black suitcase that had been found in Gus O’Connor’s room was shown to Louise in interview, and to the jury. She agreed they were identical but said “maybe it was one of a set.”
It was put to her the case she said her mother left with was in the house.
“I didn’t say I knew what case she took,” she said.
The gardai then put to her that the person leaving the house with a suitcase was her daughter Stephanie.
“That is not Stephanie,” she said. “That’s ridiculous. That’s my ma.”
When it was put to her the person was not wearing a dress, she said “she obviously got changed.”
She was asked why the person leaving had a hood up when it was not raining.
“I don’t know why, what do you want me to say, maybe they have sore ears, self conscious,” she said.
Louise O’Connor was shown a piece of fabric found in the shallow grave in Wexford where her mother was buried.
“I have never hurt a hair on my ma’s head,” she said.
The gardai said they were not saying she did but asked “what’s going on here?” She was asked if the fabric was her mother’s dress. She said she did not know and she was asked if it looked like her mother’s dress.
“Yes, it does,” she said.
Patricia was seen on video coming in the back door at 6.35pm and a person was seen closing the curtains at the back of the house at 6.53pm. Gardai asked Louise if this was Kieran Greene.
“Yeah, it’s a bloke,” she said.
She was asked why he would close the curtains.
She said he was “maybe putting on the TV, blocking the light” or “dancing around naked after the shower.”
A clip from the front of the house showed Louise and children leaving to go to the park.
The gardai said they were suspicious that “something happened,” that he was closing the curtains and she was going to the park.
“Can I not go to the park, is it against the law?” she asked.
She was asked if her mother was dead when she returned from the park.
“How could a dead woman walk out?” she said.
She again denied that was her daughter. If her mother had been dead then she would have called the gardai and “punched Kieran’s lights out.”
“You believe whatever you want but I can’t believe you think I would hurt my mother,” she said. Asked what did happen, she said she did not know anything until Mr Greene had “a meltdown” two weeks later.
Louise said a clip at 10.59pm in the back garden looked like her and her father having a smoke. She denied that her mother was in the house at this stage.
It was put to her that Stephanie had left the house wearing Patricia’s jacket.
“She didn’t,” Louise said. “That was my ma.”
At 12.38pm, she said a man seen getting something at the back of the house “could be” Mr Greene. “I’m guessing they are shovels,” she said.
Another clip at 12.43pm showed what “looks like my dad” at the back of the house, she suggested closing a door.
At 12.50am, a figure was seen at the front of the house, walking down the steps, carrying something, she said.
She saw what looked like Mr Greene with what looked like a shovel.
“I know my Dad, he’s not involved, he wouldn’t hurt a fly,” she said. She would not believe he was “even if I saw him with a hatchet in his hand,” she said.
At 5.54am on May 30, a car was seen going into the driveway and “a fella walking up, I think it’s Kieran.”
“That is obviously when he took my Mam and came back, that is a nice thing to see,” she said. “It’s f**king horrible.”
She saw Kieran walking around the back garden in a clip from 6.09am on May 30.
“Did he manage to do this in secret?” gardai asked Louise.
“What, kill me ma? Yeah,” she replied. “He’s a f**king nut, he’s destroyed our family.”
It was put to her it looked like Mr Greene was talking to someone in the house at 6.18am after he had been seen carrying what looked like washing outside.
“Yeah, we could have been up, I don’t know,” Louise said.
Gardai asked what he would have been talking about after coming back from burying her mother in Wexford.
Louise said she did not know, and “ask him, he’s a f**king nut… he’s probably gone doolally.”
Cross-examined by Michael Bowman SC, for Louise O’Connor, Detective Garda David Conolly said the CCTV did not capture the footpath at the front of the house leading to the alleyway to the back.
In her fifth and final interview, also on September 3, gardai said she had gone to the park at 6.53pm.
“Yes to get peace from my mam,” she said.
“Permanent peace?” she was asked.
“No, she was “freaking out” about the cat that night, Louise said, and “my mam was alive when we walked out… my mam walked out that door.”
It was put to her when she returned from the park, her mother was in the house but she “wasn’t alive” and she knew who walked out that door was not her mother but Stephanie.
Louise denied this, saying Stephanie was in the sitting room when Patricia walked out.
“I know my mam was alive when I came back,” she said.
Gardai said it was not fair to put the burden on others.
“I’m not putting the burden on anyone, Kieran killed my mother,” she said.
Asked how she could justify what happened, she said “I can’t, it’s sick what he done.” She said Mr Greene told her he “chopped her up” and he said “it was in the hall and bathroom.”
She denied discussing killing her mother with Mr Greene, Stephanie, or her father.
She said again she did not know what happened until two weeks later.
“That is a web of lies for you and your family,” a garda put to her.
“I know what I seen and heard,” she said, adding that “Kieran put his hands up for what he done” and “I know she walked out that door.”
“Stephanie didn’t dress up as my ma,” she said.
It was put to her the CCTV picked up a lot of inconsistencies that she could not have contemplated.
“Yous are thinking it’s some stupid plot,” she said.
Asked what she was most angry about, she said “the whole lot of it, it’s like a bad dream.”
“He was obviously under so much pressure, I can’t understand a murderer’s mind," she said.
She said if she had known she would have done something, rang an ambulance, got the gardai.
If she had slept on the couch that night she would have heard.
“I didn’t know what he had done until he broke down in front of the kids,” she said.
She denied she went out and looked down the road to give the impression her mother was still alive and she was looking for her.
She asked gardai if they thought there would have been inconsistencies if it was “a big plot.” She knew the neighbour had CCTV, she said.
“Louise, that night, May 29, did you see the body of your mother wrapped up in blankets down stairs?”
“Absolutely not,” she said. “I know I didn’t see my mother.”
This afternoon, the jury heard Stephanie O’Connor was also arrested on September 2, on suspicion of murdering her grandmother.
In her first interview, she was asked about her family, saying her grandfather Gus O’Connor was “the definition of an amazing person”, and was “one of the most generous people you could meet.”
Her father Keith Johnston was “a great dad”.
Her grandparents had seemed to get on OK, she said. Her grandmother would be mostly in her room watching TV. She had worked as a cleaner in Beaumont hospital before retiring.
Stephanie told gardai her own natural hair colour was light brown or very dark blonde. She had dyed it blonde with pink at the front.
The family had a dog called Sammy, two cats called Ziggy and Stardust and four budgies.
The alley at the side of the house was blocked by bikes and was not used much, she said.
Asked if she had a key to the back door, she said she did not and “we never come in the back door, we always use the front door.”
In the second interview, she was asked about movements at the house on May 29.
“You won’t find me very helpful,” she said. “I don’t remember it all.”
She remembered “some fight over cats,” going to the park and “Nana in a very bad mood when we got back.”
She remembered going to bed and her grandmother not being there when she got up the next morning.
She did not remember her grandmother going missing before but “If she wants to go she will go,” she said.
Her grandmother did not go out much except to charity shops, she said. The fight about the cat in her room was “silly” and asked if she argued much with her grandmother, she said “not really.”
She thought her mother argued with her grandmother about insurance, it was a “bad day” and “we all just needed to calm down.” She did not know whose decision it was to go to the park.
When they returned, her grandmother was “banging around upstairs,” then was “clunking down the stairs” before she said “she would be back when that bastard pops his clogs to get what’s mine” and left.
Stephanie said she was surprised and “it didn’t seem real, that night.”
She thought her grandmother would come back. She knew she had left before “when I was a kid” so “I thought she would be OK.”
Asked if she got on well with her, Stephanie replied: “yeah.”
The “truth came out” two weeks later when Kieran “broke down,” she said.
“That is when I found out, Kieran was telling my mam, that time was surreal,” she said.
She felt “confused, shocked, angry” when she found out, and avoided the newspapers.
She said her mother told her Mr Greene had said Patricia attacked him with a hurley and he took it off her in self defence and hit her, it was in the bathroom.
She heard he panicked and brought her in the car to Wexford, then up the Wicklow mountains.
“I don’t know exactly what happened, and I don’t want to know, but she wasn’t in one piece,” she said.
Her mother and everyone was “very emotional.”
Asked if it was unusual for her grandmother to have two arguments in one day, she said “no, I think she was just in a bad mood.”
Her grandmother “did get angry very easy”, but she was “amazing too”.
In her third interview, gardai played back CCTV footage from outside her house on May 29 and asked her to comment.
In one clip, at 3.08pm, she saw her grandmother taking a bin in to let someone out of the driveway in a car.
She had blonde hair tied back and was wearing a dress that looked like it had “peacock feathers” and white shoes.
Her grandmother had a “lot of crazy dresses,” which was her “signature style,” she said.
The trial continues.