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Stevie Wonder could follow the trail, suspect told

DETECTIVES who grilled the teenager charged with murdering Melanie McCarthy McNamara told him: "You left a trail that even Stevie Wonder could follow".

Daniel McDonnell (19) of Brookview Lawns in Tallaght has pleaded not guilty to murdering 16-year-old Melanie on February 8, 2012 at nearby Brookview Way. She was shot in the head as she sat in a car with her boyfriend and his friend.

His trial at the Central Criminal Court has already heard details of letters, which he wrote from his prison cell in March 2012, while on remand in St Patrick's Institution after being charged with her murder.

The court also heard from some of the gardai who had interviewed the accused after his arrest some weeks earlier.

STUPID

DETECTIVE GARDA ANDREW MANNING OF THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION AGREED WITH PATRICK MARRINAN SC, DEFENDING, THAT HE HAD SUGGESTED HIS CLIENT WAS STUPID.

"It's an awful thing to have on your conscience," Det Gda Manning and a colleague suggested to the accused in custody.

"But, do you know what must be really bothering you? You ran out of petrol. How stupid is that?" they asked.

The trial has already heard that the Hyundai Santa Fe used in the shooting was found abandoned a short time later, having run out of fuel.

"You've left a trail that even Stevie Wonder could follow," remarked the detectives. "I'd say you're as popular in west Tallaght as Bin Laden would be in New York," they later added.

The detective also agreed they later put specific allegations to him.

"You are the gunman, Danny. You are the man, who blew the face off that poor child. Can you explain why you weren't wearing balaclavas? Did you want to be recognised?" they asked.

"Did you want everyone in Brookview Way to know who carried out this assassination? Did you want to achieve some notoriety? You certainly did that," they suggested.

Det Gda Manning agreed the accused replied "no comment" to each question and statement.

McDonnell has admitted writing two letters in which the prosecution claims he bragged about shooting her.

He asked prison staff to post them to two separate people.Mr Marrinan yesterday told the jury he was making a formal admission on his client's behalf.

"While detained at St Patrick's Institution, the accused admits that he wrote the two letters," he said.

The court heard on Tuesday that one letter contained the words: "Close-range head shots. That's what I'm going for ... Two in the head. The bitch is dead. Ha ha ... Little did he know I had a loaded 12-gauge. Left his bitch all over the Sunday World front page ... Best night of my poxy life."

In the second letter, the accused wrote: "That other thing wouldn't have happened if I'd known she was in the car. It was meant for that other smell bag. He won't get away with bullying my Ma."

The prison's chief officer, Martin Kavanagh, testified that he handed the letters over to the gardai.

He agreed with Mr Marrinan that his client was known to the institution's staff to be one of the prisoners taking drugs.

hnews@herald.ie


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