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Husband knew wife was dead as he told gardai she's missing

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Gus O’Connor admitted lying to gardai about his missing wife Patricia despite knowing she was already dead

Gus O’Connor admitted lying to gardai about his missing wife Patricia despite knowing she was already dead

Gus O’Connor admitted lying to gardai about his missing wife Patricia despite knowing she was already dead

Patricia O'Connor's husband pleaded guilty to falsely reporting to gardai that she was missing when he knew she was already dead, a jury has heard.

Augustine O'Connor (75) entered his guilty plea before the trials of four people charged over his wife's death got under way.

While Mr O'Connor, known as Gus, has been referred to in evidence throughout the trial, the jury did not know before yesterday that he has admitted a charge of impeding the apprehension of an offender.

The jury was told of his plea as the prosecution closed its case in the joint trial of murder accused Kieran Greene and three other people.

Remains

Mr Greene's then-partner and Patricia's daughter Louise O'Connor (41), her daughter Stephanie O'Connor (22) and Louise's ex-boyfriend Keith Johnston (43) are charged with impeding a murder prosecution.

The four have pleaded not guilty and their trial continues at the Central Criminal Court.

Patricia O'Connor (61), a grandmother-of-seven, was allegedly murdered on May 29, 2017, at the house at Mountain View Park, Rathfarnham, she shared with family including her husband, Louise, Stephanie and Mr Greene.

Her dismembered remains were found scattered in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains between June 10 and 14 that year. She died from blunt force trauma to the head caused by at least three blows from a solid implement.

Inspector Brian O'Keeffe agreed with defence barrister Conor Devally SC that in voluntary interviews in June 2017, Mr Greene said he had a fight with Patricia O'Connor; that she first attacked him and it resulted in her lying, bleeding heavily on the bathroom floor.

He brought gardai to Wexford where a hair was found at the gravesite where he said he had temporarily buried her, and he was arrested and further interviewed.

Mr Greene said he acted alone in the physical fight, in removing her from the house, covering up or hiding her presence and subsequently returning to dismember her body and distribute the remains.

"Other factors emerged whereby it was reasonable to arrest Gus O'Connor and other persons in September," Mr Devally said.

Mr O'Connor was arrested on September 2, 2017, under suspicion of involvement in murder and was released after questioning.

On December 9, Mr Greene was on remand in Cloverhill Prison when he made a new statement. After that, two hacksaws and an axe were found in a search at the River Dodder.

One of the hacksaws had human hair snagged in the blade.

A warrant was sought for the re-arrest of Mr Johnston.

The co-accused were charged with the offences they are now on trial for.

"I think there was also a charge brought against Mr Gus O'Connor," Mr Devally said.

Insp O'Keeffe said there was, and he was charged on October 18, 2018.

Mr O'Connor had been part of this trial but on the first day it was listed for hearing, "he took a step which dispensed with the need to continue with his trial".

"That was to plead guilty to an offence, that he made a report that his wife was missing on June 1, 2017, when he knew she was already dead and in doing so impeding the apprehension of an offender or perpetrator," Mr Devally said.

"That is correct," Insp O'Keeffe said.

Mr Devally said in the wake of what was found at the river bank, Mr Johnston was re-arrested and he asked if there was any re-arrest of anyone else.

"No," Insp O'Keeffe said.

He confirmed that Gus O'Connor was invited to react to what Mr Greene had said about him.

Insp O'Keeffe agreed with prosecutor Roisin Lacey that when Mr Greene initially admitted "something awful", gardai believed that the torso that had been found was that of a male.

The trial continues before the jury and Mr Justice Paul McDermott.