Monday 14 October 2019

Text used to pretend victim still alive, murder trial told

Wenio Rodriguez Da Silva
Wenio Rodriguez Da Silva
The late Bruno Lemes De Sousa
Sandra Cawley, who was giving evidence yesterday
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

A MAN on trial for murder allegedly used the victim's phone after his death to text his girlfriend pretending he was still alive, a court has heard.

Wenio Rodriguez Da Silva (29) sent several text messages in Portuguese to 28-year-old Bruno Lemes De Sousa's girlfriend in Gort, Co Galway, one claiming he was in Cork and owed drugs money to some Brazilian men, the trial heard.

Mr Da Silva's former partner, Sandra Cawley, also told the court that she put her two children in the car on his insistence and took them to the bog where Mr De Sousa was murdered.

Mr Da Silva and his co-accused, John Paul Cawley (20), both of Ardoughter, Ballyduff, Co Kerry, deny murdering Mr De Sousa at Shronowen bog, Tullamore, Co Kerry, between February 16 and March 11.


Resuming her evidence at the Central Criminal Court in Tralee yesterday, Ms Cawley detailed how she travelled to the remote bog with her brother JP and her children in Mr De Sousa's Opel Vectra.

Mr De Sousa was in the back seat of a red Audi with her former partner and another brother, Charlie Cawley.

She said Mr Da Silva and her brother, JP, took Mr De Sousa from the car and he attempted to break free. She said they then disappeared from view and she didn't see anything else.

A while later she said Wenio and JP reappeared but there was no sign of Bruno. When she asked what happened, she said Mr Da Silva told her Bruno was dead.

Mr Da Silva removed all his clothes and put them in the boot. She said they all returned home to Ballyduff in Mr De Sousa's Opel Vectra as the Audi had run out of petrol.

On the return journey, her brother JP and Mr Da Silva discussed what happened.

"JP said he stabbed Bruno first in the heart and he fell back into the bog but Wenio did most of the stabbing," she told the court.

"The knife fell out of Wenio's hand and Bruno struggled to try and get it. Wenio said 'he's not dying, what will I do' and JP told him to slice his throat and Wenio slit his throat."

On their way back to Ballyduff, they threw a bag containing Mr Da Silva's clothes out the window.

They also disposed of Mr De Sousa's jacket and threw two knives into the river Cashen.

The following day, she went to Ballyduff post office with the two accused in Mr De Sousa's car. They also returned to the bog with petrol for the Audi and then took it to a scrapyard and were paid €150.

A few days later she returned to the bog with the two accused to "see if the body was still there". She described seeing his body lying in the drain but said she could only see his hands.

Under cross-examination by John Peart SC, Ms Cawley admitted her brother JP was staying with her because a bench warrant had been issued for his arrest in relation to the alleged stabbing of her sister Louise's boyfriend.


Mr Peart put it to her that a row had broken out between her brother and Bruno De Sousa over a car that Mr De Sousa had sold him for €500 and for which he hadn't been paid. She said JP Cawley had "sliced" his hand but hadn't stabbed him.

It was also put to the witness that she hadn't brought Mr De Sousa to hospital because they were afraid it would alert gardai that John Paul Cawley was at her house.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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