THE former partner of a 27-year-old accused of murdering a man in Co Wicklow three years ago said that he confessed to the killing, a court has heard.
Michael Dickenson, of Darragh Park, Wicklow town has pleaded not guilty to murdering Steven O'Meara at Ballydonnell Wood, Red Cross, Co Wicklow on or about August 6, 2009.
Mr O'Meara, a 26-year-old father-of-three from Rosehill in Wicklow town, was last seen on August 6, 2009.
His body was found by gardai in a shallow grave five months later, on Christmas Eve, in an isolated wooded area at Ballydonnell, Red Cross.
It is the prosecution's case that Dickenson drove Mr O'Meara out to the remote Ballydonnell Woods, where he was shot by another man, who then helped the accused drag the body into a very shallow grave.
Yesterday the accused's former partner, with whom he has three children, told the court he confessed to the killing along with another person.
Mary Sinnott said he told her: "We shot O'Meara in the woods", but he did not tell her who "we" referred to.
She said that on Saturday August 8, 2009, she called the accused, from whom she was estranged, for a lift to hospital as she had a fractured wrist.
Ms Sinnott said when she was with Dickenson, who is also known as 'Pencil Byrne', some men approached the car and said to him "Pencil get out of the car, Pencil get out of the car".
She said he drove off and that she started screaming at him to stop the car but he replied: "I can't stop the car, I can't stop the car, we shot O'Meara."
"I was screaming to get out of the car ... He said I wasn't to tell anyone -- that they'd come for me," she said
Under cross-examination, she agreed she gave a number of statements to the gardai, which she later changed because at the time "everything was jumbled up".
She agreed that in her earlier statements she mentioned nothing about a confession from Dickenson.
The deceased's partner Catherine Greene gave evidence that Mr O'Meara left the house at 6pm, saying he was going for a walk.
Ms Green said he was not back by midnight and she rang his phone until it went dead so she rang close friends.
She said she went looking for him herself and reported him missing on August 8.
"He'd always answer the phone even if we weren't getting on", she said.
On July 31, 2009 she said Mr O' Meara got a phone call 'from people in Dublin'," and she heard Mr O' Meara saying: "I don't know Paddy Byrne but I know his brother."
"It was lads looking for Paddy Byrne's gaff and that Paddy owed them €15,000," she said.
She agreed that Mr O'Meara knew these people in Dublin, that he was to collect a debt from Paddy Byrne and was to be paid €2,000 for doing so.
Ms Greene also agreed she told gardai she was afraid of these people who were "effectively drug dealers" that Mr O'Meara had met.