| 13.2°C Dublin

Garda Donohoe murder accused told girlfriend 'tell the truth'

- Woman changed her account of times

- Court hears of 'curfew worries'


Gardai at the scene outside the Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan where Det Gda Donohoe died

Gardai at the scene outside the Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan where Det Gda Donohoe died

Gardai at the scene outside the Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan where Det Gda Donohoe died

A man accused of murdering an on-duty garda told his girlfriend to "tell the truth" after she said he was with her at the time of the fatal shooting, a court has heard.

Jessica King said that she told police Aaron Brady was with her at the time Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was shot because she was afraid he would get into trouble over his curfew.

She was giving evidence yesterday in the trial of her former partner Mr Brady (29), who denies the capital murder of Adrian Donohoe (41) at the Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Co Louth, on January 25, 2013.

The accused, of New Road in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, has also pleaded not guilty to the robbery of €7,000 at the same location on the same date.


The Central Criminal Court heard that Ms King was in a relationship with Mr Brady between September 2012 and April of the following year, and that she was 17 years old at the time.

On the evening of the murder, the accused sent her a text at 7.54pm saying that he was going to be loading a truck and that his mobile phone was about to go dead.

At around 11pm he sent her another text message on a different number, saved as 'Brades 2', asking if he could call over to her.

Ms King said that between five and 10 minutes later Mr Brady arrived at her home on the Concession Road in Newry, Co Down.

He was wearing a Liverpool jumper, jeans and white Airmax runners, and she said his hair was gelled.

The following afternoon, January 26, Mr Brady called her to say that he and a friend had been stopped by gardai at the Ballymacscanlon roundabout in Dundalk.

Ms King said the accused told her that they had been questioned about what happened at the credit union.

Det Gda Donohoe was shot dead outside the Lordship branch at around 9.29pm.

The court heard that Mr Brady told her that if anything was mentioned to say he was at her home "a bit earlier and left a bit earlier in case he got in trouble for his curfew".

Later that day, the PSNI called to Ms King's home and inquired if she was Mr Brady's girlfriend and if he was there the previous evening.

The witness agreed with Lorcan Staines SC, prosecuting, that she told the police Mr Brady arrived at her home at 7.30pm and left at around 9.30pm.

She was later asked to attend Crossmaglen police station and while she was there she said that Mr Brady was at her home from 7.30pm until 2.30am.

Asked why this was, the witness said she "then realised what this was all about" and that she had spoken to the accused, who told her to "go in and change that and tell the truth [of] the actual time" he arrived at her home.

She later corrected this account with gardai, the court heard, and said that Mr Brady had arrived at her home shortly after 11pm.

The witness also said she deleted text messages from her phone while in the police station because she "knew things were a bit more serious" and "panicked".

This included the message sent from Mr Brady at 7.54pm on the day of the murder saying he would be loading a lorry for an hour or two, and that his phone was going dead.

Asked why, Ms King said: "I was just worried about getting him in trouble about the diesel so I deleted the message".


Under cross-examination by Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, Ms King said the accused told her to correct her original account of when he arrived at her home "in case it goes any further" and because he did not want her to "tell any lies".

Asked by Mr O'Higgins if Mr Brady expressed any concern for her position or repercussions she might face, Ms King said: "No."

She said that Mr Brady was normally a messer who was usually smiling, joking and a bit cheeky, and agreed that his demeanour was the same on the night of the murder.

The court also heard evidence of a phone call Ms King made to the accused in 2013 while he was in the US and she was still in Ireland.

She said she was angry after having a conversation with another male, and confronted Mr Brady about a stolen car some years earlier involving him and two other men, who the prosecution says were involved in the robbery at Lordship Credit Union but cannot be named for legal reasons.

The witness agreed Mr Brady said he was involved in the car robbery a number of years earlier but was not the main part of it.

Her mother, Allison King, also gave evidence of watching an RTE News report of the shooting at 11.50pm that night at her home.

She agreed with Brendan Grehan SC, prosecuting, that she called Mr Brady in to the sitting room and he told her he had seen it on Facebook.

Earlier her husband, Thomas King, said he was at home watching The Late Late Show that evening.

He agreed with Mr Staines that, sometime before 11pm but after 10pm, he became aware that Aaron Brady was in the house.

Mr King said he did not see Mr Brady in the house but believed him to be there.

Earlier, Mr Justice Michael White told the court that a juror had brought an issue to the attention of the jury minder and the registrar.

He said this related to a woman who came into the court yesterday who was known to the juror.

Mr Justice White said it was "purely innocuous" and related to the juror having a social interaction with a lady who worked in a post office and that they knew each other to say hello to.

He said this information was checked by the court was accurate and real.

He said that pursuant to the Juries Act he was directing that the juror in question, who was identified by their jury number, be discharged from the trial.

The trial continues before a jury of seven men and seven women this morning.