herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

Neighbour saw pair on bike at time of murder

A man has told a Dublin murder trial that he saw two men come and go on a motorbike to his neighbour's house minutes before and after a man was murdered by a pillion passenger in a city pub.

John Radford from Clonard Road in Crumlin was giving evidence at the Central Criminal Court in the trial of four men charged with murdering a father-of-three.

John Carroll (33) was shot dead 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 pleaded not guilty to his murder.

Skinny

Mr Radford lived next door to the sister of Joseph O'Brien (26), who was involved in the murder but who has been granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony.

Mr Radford told the court that a couple of days before the killing, 'a small, skinny bloke' rode a motorbike up the steps into his neighbour's garden and went into the house.

He said that at about 9.10pm on the night of the killing, he saw two men push the bike out of the garden and up the road towards Kildare Road, before driving off on it. "They were all in black motorbike gear," he recalled.

He described the passenger as "tall, about the same build as myself, chubby".

"The bike came back then after 10 or 20 minutes," he said, explaining that the two men pushed it back into the garden.

"They put the bike back beneath the window. They went in," he said. "A few minutes later, a taxi came beeping the horn. One of the guys came out and got into the taxi," he continued. "I think it was the chubby lad. He had a bag."

Mr O'Brien previously told the court that Kenny was the gunman, who had left in the taxi. He agreed with Kenny's barrister, Brendan Grehan, that Kenny was of large build.

Mr O'Brien also agreed that there was bad blood between Kenny and himself.

"Mr Kenny had a burn to his leg and clearly there was some burning on the motorbike," said Mr Grehan in his cross-examination of Mr O'Brien.

"Yeah," he agreed.

"And you told the gardai that exhaust had Peter f***ed," added Mr Grehan.

Mr O'Brien agreed that he was 'probably' thinking of DNA when he said that.

"I suggest that you had Peter Kenny call to your house that night, he told you he burnt his leg on the bike a few days earlier, and you wound him into your story," said Mr Grehan.

"That's a lie," insisted Mr O'Brien. "He done it. He shot him."

Sean Gillane, defending Bernard Hempenstall, asked Mr O'Brien if he actually recognised the difference between truth and lies.

"Of course I do," he replied.

Mr O'Brien had told the jury that he had been with Hempenstall when Hempenstall had bought balaclavas to wear during the murder and put a deposit on bulletproof vests.

Mr Gillane told O'Brien that in January of this year the gardai had unearthed a very important witness who suggested that his client had not bought balaclavas.

"The witness appears to be you," said the barrister. "In January 2011, long after you forgot the detail of your lie, you said, 'We didn't buy anything.' Like a drunk walking into a chair in a pub, you stumbled on part of the truth," said Mr Gillane.

"But we did get balaclavas," insisted Mr O'Brien, who has now finished giving evidence after more than a week in the witness box.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Barry White and a jury of eight men and four women.

hnews@herald.ie

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