Thursday 23 January 2020

Killer dad 'asked son to join IRA and carry explosives', court told

Paul Wells Jr. Photo: Collins
Paul Wells Jr. Photo: Collins

The brother of a man charged with impeding the investigation into the murder of Kenneth O'Brien has told a court that their father, who was convicted of Mr O'Brien's murder last year, was a "very violent" man.

Gary Wells was giving evidence yesterday in the trial of his older brother Paul Wells Jnr (33), who is charged with impeding the apprehension or prosecution of his father Paul Wells Snr (51) nearly four years ago.

Mr Wells also told the court that Paul Wells Snr had tried to get the accused to carry explosives and join the IRA.

The Central Criminal Court trial has already heard that the accused's father shot Mr O'Brien in his back garden in Finglas before dismembering the victim's body with a chainsaw and dumping it in the Grand Canal.


The prosecution has alleged that the accused, who endured a "life of hardship" under his father, dumped parts of the chainsaw in different locations, knowing at the time that his father had taken a life.

Giving evidence yesterday, Gary Wells told prosecuting counsel Michael Bowman SC that his father told him on two occasions on January 15 that he was not to come home to Finglas that night, so he stayed with his partner.

He told the court there was "quite a toxic relationship" between family members and his father. The witness said he phoned his father on the night of January 15 and felt his voice was a little out of breath.

He said he returned to the family home the following morning and observed his father "wrapping up a power hose" on the deck behind their house.

Two large bottles of bleach were beside him and he appeared to be washing down the deck, he continued.

The court has already heard that this was the address where the deceased was shot dead.

Gary Wells
Gary Wells

The witness said his father handed him a black bin liner to take to his brother's house on January 17.

"I could make out from the shape it was like a chainsaw," he said, adding that he put it into the boot of his car before driving to Mr Wells Jnr's house in Celbridge.

When he arrived at the accused's house, his brother told him to put the bag into the boot of his girlfriend's car.

The witness said that by the time his father had rung Mr Wells Jnr to get rid of the chainsaw and break it up, he had already broken it up.

The witness said his father had also asked him to remove two bags of rubbish from their house later that evening.

He put the bags into the boot of his car and saw a small red stain on a piece of cardboard.

Mr Wells agreed that his brother had told him how scared and afraid he felt when he went on a drive with Wells Snr in Co Kildare on January 16 as he thought he was going to be shot.

Mr Wells said his father also asked him to give his brother a brown envelope containing €11,300 on January 28.

"I told Paul to count it as I was worried my dad was trying to set him up," he said.

In cross-examination, Mr Wells agreed with defence counsel Damien Colgan SC that gardai had called to their house a lot when he was younger in relation to his father and keeping firearms.


The witness said he had a mixed relationship with his father as "everything had to be his way or no way" and he was very violent.

The witness agreed that his brother took the brunt of his father's behaviour and Wells Snr had tried to get the accused to carry explosives and join the IRA.

"Paul has been a father figure to me all my life. If it wasn't for Paul I wouldn't be here now," he told the court.

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

The trial resumes today before Ms Justice Carmel Stewart.

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