Gardai tortured me to confess -- murder accused
A DUBLIN man accused of a double murder in the city two years ago told gardai that they had put him under pressure to confess to the crime.
Gary Howard (24), of Emerald Street, Dublin 1, has pleaded not guilty to shooting dead Patrick Mooney (58) and Brendan Molyneaux (46) at Pearse House on January 10, 2010.
A few hours after their bodies were found at Mr Mooney's city centre flat, Howard was arrested by gardai who forced their way into his girlfriend's house in Finglas.
Howard's trial at the Central Criminal Court has heard evidence that he initially denied carrying out the murders, then admitted it, then denied it again, accusing gardai of putting him "through torture".
The jury heard extracts of interviews recorded on video tape between Howard and rotating pairs of gardai over the course of his five-day detention at Kevin Street Garda Station.
Detective Garda Sergeant Paul Tallon told Brendan Grehan, prosecuting, that the accused claimed on the third day of his detention that his earlier confession had been "all lies" and that he had said what gardai wanted because he was "under too much pressure" from them.
The jury heard that Howard said admitting to the crime was "the only way" he could get to see his mother, grandmother and his children, or get his pregnant girlfriend released from Garda custody. The court was told that Howard accused the gardai of putting pressure on him off-camera, between interviews, during breaks for cigarettes or exercise out in the yard and on the way to the cell.
"You wouldn't be treated the way I was in Guantanamo, the terrorist prison where the Taliban go," Howard said in interviews, claiming some gardai had said "horrible things" to him at the hatch in his cell, and that it had been like scenes from the film In The Name Of The Father. "Unfortunately the judge and jury only get to see what's on camera," Howard told Detective Garda Sergeant Paul Tallon, claiming that as far as certain gardai were concerned, "I'm the scumbag that has no human rights".
In an earlier interview, Howard was shown a witness statement made by his uncle Thomas Nalty, who had been present at the scene of the shootings.
Detective sergeant Adrian Whitelaw told the court that Howard claimed his uncle's statement was "all lies" because Howard had stolen €1,000 from Mr Nalty's bank account the previous week.
Howard then requested a break in the interview to consult his solicitor and see his mother.
Detective sergeant Adrian Whitelaw told the court that when the interview resumed, Howard confessed to the killings, saying he had been threatened with a gun put in his mouth and then pointed at his child.
Howard told gardai that Brendan Molyneaux was "an IRA head" and that "he knew the Provos were after him".
In subsequent interviews, Howard again denied carrying out the shootings and retracted earlier statements, claiming he had been "under duress".
When asked by gardai about the possibility of finding gun powder residue on his hands after the double shooting, Howard said the last time he had fired a gun was when he had shot his horse two days before the murders because its legs were broken.