Tuesday 20 February 2018

Trial begins of 27 year old accused of Wicklow murder

Jessica Magee

THE trial has begun of a 27-year-old accused of murdering a man in County Wicklow three years ago.

Michael Dickenson, of Darragh Park, Wicklow town, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Stephen O'Meara at Ballydonnell Wood, Redcross, County Wicklow on or about August 6th, 2009.

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

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

Opening the trial, prosecuting counsel Mr Denis Vaughan Buckley told the jury that they will hear witness evidence from the dead man's former girlfriend, describing how Mr O'Meara left her house at Rosehill, in Wicklow town, at about 6pm on Thursday evening, 6th August 2009, and said he was going for a walk.

She will tell the jury that when she phoned Mr O'Meara a short time later, he told her he was “going out the country” and that he would be back in an hour.

The court will hear that Mr O'Meara's girlfriend grew worried when he was not back by midnight, and reported him missing two days later.

The jury will also hear evidence from another man who saw Mr O'Meara getting into a grey Nissan Pulsar car driven by Michael Dickinson, also known as “Pencil” Byrne, on Patrick Road in Wicklow town between 5.30 and 6pm on 6th August 2009.

It is the prosecution's case that Dickinson 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.

Dickinson was arrested by gardaí on 21st December 2009, suspected of murdering Stephen O'Meara with a firearm.

Mr O'Meara's body was discovered in a shallow grave on Christmas Eve 2009, and was subesquently identified by medical records and fingerprint evidence.

Mr Vaughan Buckley SC also told the jury that they would hear evidence from the accused's mother and former girlfriend.

The court is also expected to hear from Deputy State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar who carried out a post mortem examination on Mr O'Meara's remains.

Dr Jabbar will confirm that Mr O'Meara was killed by internal bleeding caused by gunshot wounds to the trunk and lower leg, and potential axphyxia.

The trial has been adjourned and is due to resume tomorrow at the Central Criminal Court before a jury of seven men and five women.

It is being presided over by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy.

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