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Forensics team give evidence in city murder case

NO DNA or fingerprints from three men charged with murder was found on a motorbike believed to have been used in the crime, their murder trial has heard.

Father-of-two Bernard Hempenstall (28) from Park Terrace, The Coombe; Peter Kenny (28) of McCarthy's Terrace, Rialto; Damien Johnston (27) of Cashel Avenue, Crumlin; and Christopher Zambra (35) of Galtymore Road, Drimnagh, have all pleaded not guilty to murdering a father of three in a Dublin pub two years ago.


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

It is the State's case that Kenny was the gunman, Johnston drove him to the scene on a motorbike, Hempenstall ensured the victim was in the pub and Zambra was the brains behind the murder.

Crime Scene Investigator Garda Glenn Ryan told the Central Criminal Court yesterday that finger and palm prints from Johnston, Hempenstall and Kenny did not match those found on the motorbike seized. The prints on the bike matched people not before the court.

Garda Ryan told Brendan Grehan, defending Kenny, that he did not examine any motorbike helmet, including a black helmet recovered from the O'Toole home on Rafter's Avenue. The court already heard that Kenny called to his girlfriend, Rita O'Toole, at her home on Rafter's Avenue on the night of the murder.

DNA expert Dr Stephen Clifford testified that he took DNA samples from Johnston, Hempenstall and Kenny and excluded the three men as being the source of DNA found on the motorbike's exhaust.

He explained that a blue fabric was stuck to the exhaust and he managed to extract only a low level of mixed DNA profiles from that part of the bike.

Forensic scientist Bridget Flemming compared the material found on the exhaust with a rain suit provided by Capel Camping. Gardai believe Kenny wore a rain suit bought in the shop when he allegedly rode as a pillion passenger on the bike and carried out the murder.

Ms Flemming said she heated the suit on a hot plate and said the outcome 'strongly supported the view' that the debris on the exhaust was similar to the suit provided by Capel Camping.


Earlier, the court heard from taxi driver Pearse Hanks that he brought a 'biggish' man from the house where the motorbike was found to Rafter's Avenue at about 9.50pm on the night of the murder. He said the passenger had 'a big bag' with him.

The jury also heard from Sergeant Mark Kelly, who said Hempenstall had €3,530 in cash on him when arrested at Dublin Port two days after the killing

The trial continues before Mr Justice Barry White.