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Jury hears closing speech in trial of man accused of murdering homeless construction worker

Romanian man Ioan Artene Bob was discovered fatally injured in a Tallaght park on 13 April, 2018.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

THE PROSECUTION HAS begun their closing speech in the trial of a man accused of murdering a homeless labourer who was found badly beaten in a Dublin park.

Romanian man Ioan Artene Bob (49), a construction worker of no fixed abode, was found in a park by passers-by in Tallaght, Dublin 24, on the morning of 13 April, 2018, and later died in hospital due to his injuries.

Feri Anghel (40), also of no fixed abode, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Bob at a location in Co Dublin on the same date.

 Today, Cathleen Noctor SC, prosecuting, told the jury that the evidence against Anghel was “circumstantial” where all the strands had to be considered in their “totality”.

Noctor told the jury of six men and four women that a phone attributed to Bob and his bank card were used at locations around Dublin and Slane, Co Meath, after the deceased had been taken to Tallaght hospital, where he later died because of his injuries.

Counsel said that the jury had three options to arrive at: guilty of murder, not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter, or not guilty of either. Noctor told the jury to coldly approach the evidence presented to them and to be dispassionate in deliberation, even if they did not like the conclusion they would be drawing.

Noctor told the jury that there was no forensic evidence to link the accused to Sean Walsh Park in Tallaght, where Bob was found on the morning of Friday, 13 April, 2018.

Counsel said that former Deputy State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster gave evidence that Bob suffered blunt-force trauma injuries caused by kicking, punching and stamping. Dr Bolster had told the trial that Bob sustained multiple rib fractures from the attack and that both his lungs had collapsed.

The barrister added that there was no weapon to link the accused to the death of Bob and that there were no boots before the court that might have been used in the incident.

Noctor said that there was no exact time offered to the jury on when the attack on Mr Bob occurred.

She said that a pair of boxers, a KitKat wrapper, a pair of glasses and tissues from the scene all had Bob’s blood on them.

Bank Card

Counsel said it is the prosecution’s case that the accused used Bob’s AIB card for several transactions throughout the day of Bob’s death at Tallaght hospital.

Noctor said that the sim card attributed to Bob’s phone was also moving in “close proximity” to the phone attributed to Mr Anghel when it pinged off cell phone sites in Dublin.

“There’s only so much coincidence before it all adds up,” she told the jury, adding that circumstantial evidence was not inferior to direct evidence.

She said that the proximity of the phone attributed to Bob and the one attributed to Anghel was such that they both accessed a cell site in Dublin on April 13 within nine minutes of each other and after Bob had passed away.

Counsel described Bob as a father, a brother and a brother-in-law who was living in homelessness in Dublin while working in construction to earn money to send back to his family in Romania.

Noctor said that Bob had been living in a car in the docks area of Dublin but towards the end of his life he lived out of a rucksack and hid a sleeping bag when he was at work. She said the deceased was “liked and was a kind and generous man”.

Rambling 

On the night of Thursday, 12 April, counsel said, Bob had been due to stay with another male in a caravan near Dorset Street but had found himself instead “rambling” around the city centre with the accused and others with whom he was drinking.

Noctor said that both Anghel and Bob had been identified by witnesses who viewed Luas footage of two men travelling to Tallaght just after midnight and the prosecution case is that they had spent at least an hour in each other’s company alone on the night before that in the city.

Counsel said that evidence had been heard of several “tap” transactions using Bob’s card in Glasnevin, Dublin city centre and Slane on the day he died.

When Bob was discovered by walkers just after 7am in Sean Walsh Park, he was found to be without his phone, bank card and any cash, Noctor told the jury.

Counsel said that Bob had won around €2,700 at a casino in Dublin city centre earlier that week and that he asked a friend who was returning home to deliver a large portion of it to his family.

That witness, Viorica Ciocirla, said she met Bob on Thursday to collect the money from him and that she had seen the €400 he kept for himself in his wallet to keep him going for the remainder of the month.

Ciocirla flew to Romania on Friday with the money that she gave to Mr Bob’s brother, who later told her of Mr Bob’s death.

Noctor said that Bob did not keep his win at the casino a secret and that he told a friend, Marian Dumitru, about the win.

Noctor said that footage of a male trying to access Bob’s account at 3am on the night April 13 showed seven failed attempts at making withdrawals from an ATM at The Square in Tallaght.

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Counsel said that the male at the ATM wore a similar jacket to the male captured on CCTV travelling with Bob on the Luas to Tallaght.

When gardaí interviewed Anghel five days after the death of Mr Bob they played him CCTV footage of two males running to catch a Luas at 1am that took them towards the Square shopping centre.

Gardaí put it to Anghel that it was him in the footage and were told “no” and “I have the right to go wherever I want”.

Noctor said that before the late-night Luas trip two males were captured on CCTV on Abbey street with one of the males appearing to be faltering and almost falling backwards.

She said the prosecution contends that the other male was the accused and that he was seen on camera leading Bob by the arm first towards the Custom House and then onto the Luas.

Discovery

Noctor said that when Bob was found lying on the ground in Sean Walsh Park on the morning of 13 April, his face was swollen and bloodied and he did not respond when a witness asked if he needed help.

An ambulance was called and Bob arrived at Tallaght hospital at 8.32am but was pronounced dead at 4.37pm.

Noctor said that on 13 April Anghel travelled back to Dublin after finishing work in Slane and got out of a work van at Phibsboro in north Dublin at around 5.30pm. Nine minutes later, counsel said, Bob’s phone was reactivated and pings off a cell site at nearby North King Street.

Counsel said that a flurry of text messages were received by the phone, which had been turned off, and that six messages were received in 27 seconds.

When Anghel was working as a cleaner in Slane on Friday, co-worker Garofina Selin, who gave evidence in the case, said she saw blood on the right side of Anghel’s right boot and that his hands were “bruised and swollen”.

Noctor said Selin told the trial that Anghel had spent the day at work complaining about tax, that he had a migraine and that he could not remember the night before but thought he had been assaulted and that he may have assaulted someone.

Noctor concludes her closing speech tomorrow at the Central Criminal Court before Padraig Dwyer SC delivers his closing speech for the defence.

About the author:

Paul Neilan

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