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Garda murder trial jury hears deleted text sent by accused

'Just have to load the lorry... this phone is gonna go dead', Brady wrote in message to girlfriend 90 minutes before fatal shooting

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Aaron Brady has pleaded not guilty

Aaron Brady has pleaded not guilty

Aaron Brady has pleaded not guilty

A text sent from the man accused of murdering Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe to his girlfriend 90 minutes before the fatal shooting was later deleted, the trial has heard.

The communications between Aaron Brady (29), who denies capital murder, and his girlfriend, Jessica King, were read out in the Central Criminal Court yesterday.

In one message, which was deleted but later recovered by investigators, the accused said he was going to be loading a lorry that night and that his phone was going to go dead.

The jury heard that the text was sent at 7.54pm on January 25, 2013. Det Gda Donohoe was shot dead during the robbery about 90 minutes later.

Stopped

Mr Brady, of New Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, has pleaded not guilty to the capital murder of Det Gda Donohoe (41), who was then a member of An Garda Siochana acting in the course of his duty, at Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Co Louth, on January 25, 2013.

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Gardai at the Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Co Louth, where Det Gda Adrian Donohoe was shot dead

Gardai at the Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Co Louth, where Det Gda Adrian Donohoe was shot dead

Gardai at the Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Co Louth, where Det Gda Adrian Donohoe was shot dead

The accused also denies the robbery of around €7,000 in cash and assorted cheques at the same location on the same date.

Under cross-examination, Garda Inspector Mark Phillips agreed with Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, that Mr Brady was stopped by gardai and spoken to at around 12.35pm the day after the murder and asked about his movements the previous evening.

Mr Brady said he was with his girlfriend, Ms King, and that 45 minutes after telling gardai this members of the PSNI arrived at her house in Cullaville to corroborate it.

She later attended a PSNI station where she surrendered her phone and gave consent for officers to access the device.

Tests were carried out and the mobile was later made available to the garda investigation team, the court heard.

Four texts, sent on the day of the murder between Mr Brady and Ms King, were then read out in court.

One, sent from Mr Brady at 2.43pm, read: "Where did ya get the feed. Am not doing anything have a few things to do later on at about 8 till ten then am doing nothing if ya wanna do something if not i understand, is your ones giving out today."

The jury heard that his girlfriend was interviewed about this, and said he might "have been away with the lads" and that they would move diesel in a yard in Crossmaglen.

Later that day the accused sent another text, at 4.52pm, which read: "I was away there for a while had to meet a man there now. I have work at 8 till half ten then thats it.. Sure if not Id be stuck in the cold house and am not putting heating oil in it til [his friend] gives money."

Insp Phillips agreed with Mr O'Higgins that when interviewed, Ms King understood this to be in reference to loading lorries in the yard "where they do be smuggling and washing diesel".

The jury was then told that there was another message sent that night from Mr Brady to Ms King, who said she deleted this message while waiting in Newry police station because she did not want to get "the boys like Aaron... or any of the lads in the diesel yard in trouble".

The text, which was sent at 7.54pm, read: "Just have to load the lorry but it will only take an hour or 2. This phone is gonna go dead. il text ya soon as home home and get it charged. love you."

Versions

Insp Phillips agreed with Mr O'Higgins that, from an investigative point of view, the texts indicate that Mr Brady was working in the diesel yard between 8 and 9.30 or 10pm that night.

The witness also accepted that it was one of two versions provided by Mr Brady which connected him to the diesel yard, and that when Mr Brady gave two voluntary statements to gardai on February 5 and 6, 2013, he said he was at the yard for only up to 15 minutes.

Gardai also had a working theory of when those involved in the robbery and murder took up position in the field behind the credit union at 8.50pm, Insp Phillips said.

Mr O'Higgins told the court that the time between Cullaville and Lordship Credit Union, according to Google Maps, was 21 minutes.

The jury was also told that the PSNI were asked to conduct a harvesting of CCTV along the entirety of Concession Road, where the diesel yard is located, which Insp Phillips said was then returned to the incident room at Dundalk Garda Station.

The trial continues today.


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