Monday 19 February 2018

Phone masts used to track text activity between 'murder gang members' at time of fatal shooting, trial hears

One of the phones was linked to 20 texts and calls before 8.30am on the day of the killing (stock photo)
One of the phones was linked to 20 texts and calls before 8.30am on the day of the killing (stock photo)

Eoin Reynolds

Alleged members of a murder gang made a flurry of texts and calls to one another around the time of a fatal shooting, a trial at the Central Criminal Court heard today.

Gary Flynn (31), of Rossfield Drive in Tallaght has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Seamus 'Shay' O'Byrne at Tymon Park North in Tallaght on March 13, 2009.

At his trial on Thursday senior crime and policing analyst Sarah Skedd spoke to prosecuting counsel Alex Owens SC.

She told him that she compiled charts of calls and texts relating to 13 phones gardai suspected to have been used by the alleged gang that killed Mr O'Byrne.

She said the general location of the phones could be established by the masts that they connected to when making calls or sending and receiving texts.

By combining that information with CCTV footage of cars believed to have been used in the shooting, she said she was able to track the movements of the alleged gang.

One of the phones, said by the prosecution to belong to suspect Eugene Cullen, was linked to 20 texts and calls before 8.30am on the day of the killing.

In one two-minute period that evening, about 90 minutes before Mr O'Byrne was shot, the phone received 24 texts.

Another phone, referred to by Mr Owens as the Primera Phone because it was discovered in a Primera seized by gardai hours after the killing, was traced to various locations in Coolock within one hour of the shooting.

Ms Skedd agreed with Mr Owens that CCTV footage at that time showed three men, including Mr Flynn, entering Leisureplex in Coolock.

Later that night, at 10:17pm, the same phone was traced to a phone mast on the M50. Ms Skedd agreed that the Silver Primera passed the E-flow barrier on the M50 at 10:43pm.

A phone that was seized from Garrett O'Brien, who has already been convicted in relation to Mr O'Byrne's death, made at least 21 texts and calls on the day.

Another suspect phone is referred to as the Topaz Phone by Mr Owens because the first evidence of its existence was a top-up bought at a Topaz garage on the Fortfield Road.

Detective Garda Michael McGrath has previously given evidence that CCTV showed Mr Flynn purchasing the top-up.

Ms Skedd agreed with Mr Owens that the Topaz phone made at least 12 calls to another suspect phone over a half-hour period leading up to the shooting.

Defence counsel Giollaíosa Ó'Lideadha SC, put it to Ms Skedd that a phone number that has been attributed to Mr Flynn was being used after he had been arrested, and therefore could not have been used by him. Ms Skedd agreed.

Mr Ó'Lideadha also put it to her that the records she had compiled showed that the Topaz phone was being used when Mr Flynn was caught on CCTV in the shop.

He said Mr Flynn was clearly not using a phone and therefore the call must have been made by somebody else. Ms Skedd agreed.

The trial continues before Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of nine men and three women on Friday.

Online Editors

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