Saturday 20 October 2018

Witness tells murder trial she 'heard men laughing' before victim was run over by car

  • Witness tells murder trial that two men attacked and then held the deceased up as a car drove into him
  • Danielle Cusack tells trial of a father and three sons that she heard men laughing after a car first struck victim Neil Reilly
  • Paul Bradley (54) and his sons Jason (20), Dean (24), and Ryan (18) have all pleaded not guilty to the murder of Neil Reilly (36)
Brothers (left-right) Dean Bradley, Jason Bradley, Ryan Bradley and their father Paul Bradley
Brothers (left-right) Dean Bradley, Jason Bradley, Ryan Bradley and their father Paul Bradley

Eoin Reynolds

A witness has told a murder trial that two men attacked and then held the deceased up as a car drove into him.

Danielle Cusack told the trial of a father and his three sons that she heard the men laughing after a car first struck Neil Reilly, who she had moments earlier seen staggering in the road.

She told Paul Murray SC for the prosecution that two or three men then attacked Mr Reilly before she heard the car screeching in reverse. Two men, she said, held the deceased up by the arms, let him go at the last second and the car drove over him again.

Paul Bradley (54) and his sons Jason (20), Dean (24), and Ryan (18), of Liscarne Gardens, Dublin 22, have all pleaded not guilty to the murder of Neil Reilly (36) at Esker Glebe in Lucan, Dublin on January 18, 2017.

The witness later told the court she gave the deceased the Act of Contrition and heard him say: "I'm sorry. I'm ready to go now. I have to go."

Danielle Cusack said she was awoken in the early hours by a bang and looked outside where she saw the deceased staggering down the road before being struck by a car.

Neil Reilly
Neil Reilly

Two or three men then attacked him, kicking, striking and "dragging out of him". She  then saw two of them pick him up and hold him while the car screeched and reversed over him. The driver of the car then got out and looked before getting back into the car and driving over the man a third time.

Ms Cusack, a veterinary surgeon, was giving evidence in the trial yesterday and will continue to do so today.

Paul Bradley pleaded not guilty to murdering Neil Reilly
Paul Bradley pleaded not guilty to murdering Neil Reilly

She said that having been woken by the loud bang she went to the window of her apartment bedroom and saw a man staggering around the road and a car on the footpath. She was wondering if he was drunk and had been in a crash when she heard some men laughing.

There were two or three of them, she said, and although she initially thought they might be the staggering man's friends, she got the impression he was trying to get away from them.

Dean Bradley (24) pleaded not guilty to murdering Neil Reilly
Dean Bradley (24) pleaded not guilty to murdering Neil Reilly

Then a dark BMW came. It seemed to slow down, she said, but it didn't stop. It hit the man with "an awful thump".

She could hear the man crying out and the other men laughing. They attacked him as he lay on the ground before two of them picked him up, one on each side, and she heard the car screeching in reverse. The two let Mr Reilly go "at the last second" as the car struck him in reverse and went over him a second time.

She then saw the driver get out of the car, have a look and get back into the car before driving over Mr Reilly a third time. "I couldn't believe my eyes," she said.

Michael Bowman SC, defence counsel for Jason Bradley, put it to Ms Cusack that in a written account she made days after the incident she said nothing about two people holding Mr Reilly up as the car reversed over him. She replied that the written account was a personal thing to help her deal with the trauma and it was not meant to be a full statement. She said that what she said in court was a full and honest account of what happened.

Jason Bradley (20) pleaded not guilty to murdering Neil Reilly
Jason Bradley (20) pleaded not guilty to murdering Neil Reilly

Ms Cusack fought back tears as she recalled going outside to try and help Mr Reilly, who was lying in the road and crying out for help. A number of people were there now, including a woman whom she believed to be the partner of the deceased. She was hysterical. Mr Reilly's wounds were "horrific" and he was covered in blood, she said. "I didn't know how he was still alive."

She used her medical training to help Mr Reilly and tried to keep him talking and get him to stay still.

Accused of a ‘brutal’ murder are Paul, Ryan (pictured), Dean and Jason Bradley
Accused of a ‘brutal’ murder are Paul, Ryan (pictured), Dean and Jason Bradley

He was trying to stand up and succeeded at one point but then fell face forward. She held him in her arms as he repeated his dying words over and over, "I'm sorry, I'm ready to go now, I have to go."

She told him: "Whatever wrongs you might have done you will be forgiven."

As this was happening she noticed a man went to a car that was parked in the road. He pulled a pair of white runners and a mobile phone from the car and ran away when challenged by the people gathered at the scene.

The witness broke down during cross examination before revealing that she gave Mr Reilly the Act of Contrition. She added: "I will live with that for the rest of my life."

Ms Cusack will return to continue cross examination in front of Justice Paul Coffey and a jury of six men and six women today.

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