herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Finding Mariora dead was 'like a blockbuster movie'

Marioara Rostas
Marioara Rostas

RETURNING home to find Marioara Rostas dead in his house was like "something from a blockbuster film", a former friend of murder accused Alan Wilson has told the Central Criminal Court.

Fergus O'Hanlon was being questioned by a lawyer for the defence about the "cinematic" nature of his description of what happened on the night he alleges Mr Wilson showed him the dead girl's body.

He agreed his account was movie-like, and said: "It's like a blockbuster - it's not every day somebody comes home to find somebody dead in their house."

Cross-examined by Michael O'Higgins SC, Mr O'Hanlon denied he was giving evidence against Mr Wilson because he "hated" him, and said he could not recall a prison phone conversation in which he said: "I have waited four years to f**k him over."

Mr Wilson (35), of New Street Gardens, Dublin 8, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Marioara (18) at Brabazon Street, The Coombe, between January 7 and 8, 2008.

She went missing while begging in Dublin on January 6 that year, and her body was found in a shallow grave in woods in the Kippure-Sally Gap area on the Dublin-Wicklow border four years later on January 23, 2012.

The jury has heard that Mr O'Hanlon, a convicted criminal, has immunity from prosecution. He had been under witness protection until he was arrested and convicted for burglary and drink-driving.

Mr O'Higgins questioned Mr O'Hanlon (37) about different accounts he gave of the night of January 8, when he says he returned to Brabazon Street after several phone calls.

He denied telling his solicitor that when he met the accused, Wilson's gun was still smoking.

"I didn't mean literally," he said.

Mr O'Higgins put it to him that it was a "movie cliche".

Counsel quoted a statement by a friend who said Mr O'Hanlon told him he had taken possession of the gun on the night, put it under his chin and thought about "pulling the trigger and ending it all".

damned

Mr O'Hanlon denied saying this. "The one thing I would never do is commit suicide," 
he said. He "did not know" why he had told his solicitor he thought Mr Wilson had another gun when the accused allegedly told him to go up the stairs.

"It was damned if you do and dead if you don't," he replied, then insisted there was only one gun on the night.

Mr O'Higgins put it to Mr O'Hanlon that gardai had spoken up for him at a district court sentence hearing in order to get him out of jail.

He asked if Mr O'Hanlon had been looking for any "deals" when he made his statement to gardai, specifically for immunity from prosecution.

He replied that he "mentioned it" to a garda, but added: "I didn't make any deals. I didn't find out I had immunity until June 19 (2014)." He claimed he had no prior knowledge a garda would testify on his behalf in the district court.

He admitted trashing three apartments while under witness protection, but denied threatening to undermine and embarrass the programme.

hnews@herald.ie

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