Monday 19 August 2019

'Smiley I think you killed him' - murder trial witness claims she heard someone shout the night ex-soldier died

Warren O'Connor
Warren O'Connor

Alison O’Riordan

A murder trial witness has said that she heard someone shout "Smiley I think you killed him" the night a former soldier was stabbed to death on a roadway in north Dublin.

The witness also told the jury that her friend's house party was not "chaotic" and there was "absolutely no loud music" being played.

Emma Cooney was giving evidence today in the Central Criminal Court trial of Gary Watson (35), who is charged with murdering Warren O’Connor (24) nine years ago.

Mr Watson, with an address at Millbrook Avenue, Kilbarrack, Dublin 13 has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr O’Connor at Hole in the Wall Road, Donaghmede, Dublin 13 on January 16, 2010.

Mr Watson also denies assaulting Philip Woodcock (34) causing him harm on the same occasion and producing a knife to intimidate another person in the course of a dispute.

The trial has previously heard that a fight ensued between two groups of men after Mr Woodcock removed the fuse and cut power to his neighbour’s apartment so “a noisy house party” would end and the occupants would leave. 

Giving evidence today, Ms Cooney told prosecution counsel James Dwyer SC that she was in a restaurant in Swords on the evening of January 15 with her friends Louise Kinsella, Amy Kinsella and Carol Murray.

Ms Cooney and her friends met up with Gary Watson and Jonathan Coyle after their meal and she drove the three girls to Louise Kinsella's apartment at The Beech, Grattan Wood on Hole in the Wall Road in Donaghmede, she said.

Ms Cooney said the two men drove a black Honda Civic car to Ms Kinsella's apartment that night. 

The witness said she "distinctively" remembered seeing Mr Woodcock, his partner Suzanne Martin and their son going into the next-door apartment with a take-away on the night. "They were going into their apartment at the same time as us," she commented.

Ms Cooney said her group were "having a laugh" in Ms Kinsella's apartment and told the court that there was "no loud music whatsoever".

"I believe the guy next door [Mr Woodcock] witnessed who was going into our apartment and he rang his friends to start an argument," explained Ms Cooney, adding that the suggestion of loud music was "nonsense". Ms Cooney testified that there was drink involved but said that it was not a chaotic party.

The court heard that two other men later arrived at the house party and one of these was in a wheelchair. She said the eight of them were "having a laugh" when suddenly "the fuse went out" in the apartment, she said, adding that they were all "bewildered" as to why this had happened.

Ms Cooney remembered that there were "knick-knacks" on Ms Kinsella's apartment door so she went downstairs to see what was going on. Mr Woodcock and Mr O'Connor were at her friend's apartment door when she returned.

Ms Cooney said there was an argument between the two groups but it was not over the music. Knives were being waved around and "digs" were being thrown which resulted in a scuffle, she said. "I remember one person at the door saying 'I told you I would get you'," she added.

The witness said that her group decided to leave the building after the scuffle came to an end and Mr O'Connor helped the man in a wheelchair down the stairs.

Words were being exchanged between the two groups of men in the carpark. The other group left the apartment building in a Ford Focus car and the three men from her group left in the Honda Civic, she stated. Ms Cooney alleged she heard "a bang" a few minutes later and someone shout "Smiley I think you killed him".

Ms Cooney said she saw the three men who had left in the black Honda Civic come through the gate of the car park and get into another car.

The witness said she drove to the scene and asked gardai what had happened before she went home that night.

The trial continues on Wednesday before Mr Justice Michael White and a jury of seven men and five women.

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