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Thursday 14 November 2019

'I thought I was going to be shot', body-in-canal killer's son told gardai

Paul Wells Jnr endured a ‘life of hardship’ under his father
Paul Wells Jnr endured a ‘life of hardship’ under his father

A man accused of impeding the Kenneth O'Brien murder investigation told gardai that he thought his father, who dismembered the victim's body and dumped it in the Grand Canal, was going to shoot him.

The prosecution has alleged that Paul Wells Jnr, who endured a "life of hardship" under his father, dumped parts of a chainsaw, knowing that his father had taken a life.

Detective Sergeant Gerard Moore was giving evidence in the Central Criminal Court trial of Mr Wells Jnr (33), who is charged with impeding the apprehension or prosecution of his father Paul Wells Snr (51).

Mr Wells Jnr, of Beatty Park, Celbridge, Co Kildare, has pleaded not guilty to disposing of a chainsaw motor between January 19 and 20, 2016, in Co Kildare and not guilty to disposing of a chainsaw blade and chain on January 20, 2016, in the same location.

Shooting

Paul Wells Snr was jailed for life last year having been found guilty of murdering Mr O'Brien at his home in Finglas on January 15 or 16, 2016.

Wells Snr admitted that, after shooting the 33-year-old father, he had dismembered his body and dumped it in a suitcase in the Grand Canal.

Det Sgt Moore told defence counsel Damien Colgan SC that Mr Wells Jnr gave a voluntary statement to gardai on February 5, with officers raiding his father's house the following day.

The court heard that Mr Wells Jnr told gardai that he received a phone call from his brother on the evening of January 16, asking him to meet his father in a Tesco car park.

He drove to meet Wells Snr at around 7pm and they went for a quick drive in the direction of Straffan village.

Mr Wells Jnr told gardai that his father seemed really on edge and kept looking over his shoulder as he drove.

"I started worrying about our path and he knew the dark roads. He was sweating all the time, I thought I was going to be shot," Mr Wells Jnr said.

Wells Snr told his son that he "needed a p**s" and pulled up at the canal on the Sallins Road.

The accused said his father went to the boot of his car and he could hear him "shuffling something about".

"Two seconds later I heard two splashes," said Mr Wells Jnr, adding that his father then dropped him back at Tesco.

Earlier Mr O'Brien's partner, Eimear Dunne, gave evidence of dropping to her knees in shock after his murderer told her the victim was involved with another woman and had "upped and left".

She told prosecuting counsel Michael Bowman SC that she had gone to work on the morning of January 15 and Mr O'Brien was at home as he was getting picked up at 2pm.

Ms Dunne said she received a text from another mobile number at 3.36am the next day, purporting to be from her partner. The text indicated that he had lost his phone and had gone to have a drink.

Texting

The witness agreed with Mr Bowman that she later told gardai that this was not her partner's "way of texting".

The witness said she then rang Wells Snr to see if he knew where Mr O'Brien was. He suggested to her that Mr O'Brien was involved with another woman in Australia.

Wells Snr arrived at the house that day and told Ms Dunne and her family that Mr O'Brien had been involved with another woman in Australia and had "upped and left".

Ms Dunne said she did not accept this as Mr O'Brien was committed to moving home as his belongings were being shipped back from Australia.

Ms Dunne agreed that she was taken aback by what Wells Snr had told her and dropped to her knees in shock.

The trial continues.

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