Monday 18 February 2019

Murder accused 'was planning a trip to England'

THE father of a murder accused's girlfriend told gardai that the accused arrived at his house with a bag half an hour after the killing, the Central Criminal Court heard.

Thomas O'Toole (50), of Rafter's Avenue in Dublin, was giving evidence in the trial of four men charged with murdering a father-of-three in a Dublin pub.

John 'Champagne' Carroll (33) was shot dead while socialising in Grumpy Jack's Pub in the Coombe just after 9.30pm on February 18, 2009.


Peter Kenny (28) of McCarthy's Terrace, Rialto; Christopher Zambra (35) of Galtymore Road, Drimnagh; Damien Johnston (27) of Cashel Avenue, Crumlin; and Bernard Hempenstall (26) from Park Terrace in the Coombe have denied murder.

Mr O'Toole told the court that Kenny was going out with his daughter, Rita, who had a brain tumour. Patrick Gageby, prosecuting, read out the statements he gave the gardai investigating the murder.

"At about 10pm, Peter Kenny knocked on my door. Rita answered," he told gardai. "He was wearing his blue tracksuit ... I think he was wearing black shoes."

He said that when Mr Kenny arrived he had a half-full, green carrier bag with him, but he did not see what was inside.

"He left only a few minutes later with Rita. He had the green bag with him," he said in his statement.

Mr O'Toole said that Rita returned home at 11.30pm, he heard a door slam and he took it she went to bed.

"When she's in pain or bad form, she slams the door," he explained. He said he didn't see his daughter again until 9.15 the following morning when she went to collect her disability allowance at the post office.

"She went and got her nails done in some nail bar in Crumlin," he added.

He said that he rang his cousin in England that morning and arranged for Kenny and Rita to go over to stay with him for a few days for a break.

He said that Rita stayed in the house for the rest of the day until Kenny arrived in a cab at 8.30pm.

"The taxi just beeped and Rita just went out to him. She had her shoulder bag," he said. "She got into the cab."

Mr O'Toole said he thought they'd gone to England on the boat until Rita returned at 3pm the following day, February 20.

"She was upset," he said in his statement.


On Wednesday, the jury heard from Aisling O'Brien, who said that Kenny and her brother arrived on a motorbike to her house in Crumlin a little earlier that night.

She said they had taken off rain gear and put it into a green material bag along with Kenny's motorcycle helmet.

She testified that Kenny had said he had 'whacked' someone and had left in a taxi.

The court heard that a confidential tip-off the following day led gardai to her house and that her brother, Joey O'Brien, was arrested.

Although admitting involvement in the murder, he was granted immunity in exchange for testifying against the four defendants, two of whom had been his friends.

The trial continues.


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