DNA test matched dog from stolen VW car, murder trial told
A scientist matched hairs taken from a car seat cover found at a murder accused's home to a bulldog belonging to a man whose car was stolen five months before the killing, the Central Criminal Court has heard.
Dr Rebecca Weld told prosecution counsel Paul Burns SC that she has a PhD in animal identification and in 2016 was a director with Weatherbys DNA laboratories.
On July 26, 2016, she examined DNA samples from a black cocker spaniel called Lily and an English bulldog named Bailey.
She compared them with black and white hairs taken from a cover or sheet of tarpaulin that gardai have said was recovered from a bin in the garden of Paul O'Beirne, one of two men accused of murdering 25-year-old Vincent Ryan.
Mr O'Beirne (36), of Colepark Drive, Ballyfermot, and Jeffrey Morrow (37), of Burnell Court, Coolock, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Ryan at McKee Road in Finglas on February 29, 2016. Vincent 'Vinnie' Ryan was the brother of slain Real IRA chief Alan Ryan.
Dr Weld said a partial DNA profile was generated from one of the white hairs found on the cover that matched the DNA profile from the bulldog.
She said the chance of finding the same profile from a dog other than Bailey would be one in a billion. Last Friday, Joseph Cogan told Mr Burns that his car, a silver Volkswagen Golf GTI, was stolen from outside his home on October 13/14, 2015.
In his opening to the jury, Mr Burns said it was part of the prosecution case that the shots that killed Mr Ryan were fired from a silver Volkswagen Golf.
Mr Cogan told Mr Burns that in the boot of his Golf was a grey canvas sheet that he used to protect his car from dog hairs.
He said he owns a fawn or blonde bulldog and a black cocker spaniel and the canvas "would have been covered in hairs". Mr Cogan was shown the canvas that gardai have said they took from the bin at Mr O'Beirne's home.
He said it looked "very similar" to the one that was in his car.
He also confirmed that on April 14, 2016, he gave gardai permission to take a buccal swab and hair samples from both his dogs.
Sergeant Niall Phelan told Mr Burns that he took possession of two wheelie bins that had been seized from Mr O'Beirne's address on March 20, 2016. He said he opened the green bin and took out the grey tarpaulin cover.
Dr Hilary Clarke, of Forensic Science Ireland, told Mr Burns she took what she believed to be black and white dog hairs from the cover on April 28, 2016, and placed them in tamper evident bags.
Sergeant Patrick Traynor told Mr Burns that on March 15, 2016, he and other gardai went to Mr O'Beirne's home. Gardai had a search warrant and were let in by a woman living there.
Sgt Traynor said he searched the back garden and found burnt remains in a barbecue that included a partially burnt mobile phone.
Inspector Gavin Ross said Mr O'Beirne was in the house asleep when gardai executed the warrant at 7.03am.
He said he took a Samsung mobile phone from Mr O'Beirne and another Samsung belonging to the female living at the address. He also noticed there was a CCTV camera installed at the front door hooked up to a hard drive.
He seized the system and when gardai looked at it at the station, Insp Ross said it appeared to have been tampered with.
"The memory had been removed. The hard drive had been physically removed," he said.
Insp Ross said he later obtained a search warrant to search a house in Riverside, Kinnegad, Co Westmeath.
There was a Nissan van in the driveway when gardai arrived on March 18, 2016. Inside the van, Insp Ross said, was a CCTV hard drive.
Detective Garda Alan Mahony said he examined the hard drive and found it was password-protected. He was able to bypass the system and get access to footage saved on the hard drive.
He said he downloaded footage from February 29, 2016, from 11.30am to 6.30pm.
The trial continues.