A MAN whose partner is accused of hiring a hitman to kill him and his two sons kissed her on the lips after telling the court he found the allegations against her "very, very, very hard to believe".
Businessman PJ Howard told defence counsel for his former partner Sharon Collins, Paul O'Higgins, in cross examination, that he did not believe the allegations. "It doesn't make sense to me at all. It's totally out of character."
Ms Collins (45), with an address at Ballybeg House, Kildysart Road, Ennis and Essam Eid (52), an Egyptian man with a Las Vegas address have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to kill PJ, Robert and Niall Howard between August 1, 2006, and September 26, 2006. Ms Collins also denies hiring Mr Eid to shoot the three men.
Mr Eid denies demanding €100,000 from Robert Howard to cancel the contracts. He also denies breaking into the Howard family business at Westgate Business Park and stealing two computers, some computer cables, a digital clock and a poster of old Irish money and handling the stolen items.
Mr Howard told Mr O'Higgins that Ms Collins had looked after him when he had cardiac problems in 2000. "When I wasn't well she gave us a very good life. We didn't feel there were any serious problems between us until this particular situation arose here. Up to that we were living quite normally."
He said that Ms Collins, who had been living with him for eight years, had never shown any signs that she was with him for his money.
"In the eight years I have known Sharon she has never asked for anything. I have often offered her things and she said no. If she is given three or four hundred euro for herself, she would see if her two lads had enough. She would spend it on clothes and not save it. She is far from a greedy person."
Mr Howard said he thought the Iridium laptop on which gardai found emails from Lyingeyes98@yahoo.ie to Hitmanforhire@yahoo.com had been stolen from his house after a party. He said it was left in the upstairs sitting room after Ms Collin's son David had left college and he had never seen it or seen anyone using it.
As he was leaving the court, Mr Howard stopped and kissed Ms Collins on the lips.
The jury were also read the statement of Special Agent Deen Abbott, an FBI agent who searched Mr Eid's house in Las Vegas. Special Agent Abbott told gardai that when they arrived at 6108 Camden Cove Street on December 4, 2006, Mr Eid's wife, Lisa let them in.
During the search they seized various items including a folder of documents and an address book containing Irish phone numbers and addresses.
Una Ni Raifeartaigh, prosecuting, told the jury that among the emails found in the folder was an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org confirming the registration of Hitmanforhire.us and giving the administration password Casino.
There was also a message from Lyingeyes98@yahoo.ie, an address the prosecution say was set up by Sharon Collins. Dated August 8, 2006, the contact form gave the name S Cronin and an Irish mobile number, asking for contact to be made within 15 hours.
The text of the query read "2 male marks in Ireland, usually together. Make it look like an accident. Then possibly a third one 24 hours later. Make it look like suicide. Would appreciate a call by return".
An email from Hitmanforhire to email@example.com on August 10, 2006, offered a job. "I have a job for you if you are interested. Two males in Ireland and one in Spain. Let us know. We will try to call you."
An earlier email to Tony Luciano dated July 29, 2006, from Judas69 gave a location Dublin, Ireland. Judas69 described himself as a professional soldier for five years. The message finished "If you got work I will do it."
The trial continues on Monday before Mr Justice Roderick Murphy.