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Josh Dunne murder accused was 'terrified, sad and scared' following stabbing, court hears

George Gonzaga Bento has pleaded not guilty to murder.
May 18th 2022, 6:10 PM 11,018 0

A FOOD DELIVERY cyclist accused of murdering schoolboy Josh Dunne was “terrified, sad and scared” and worried about retaliation in the aftermath of the fatal stabbing, a witness had told the Central Criminal Court.

Jose Pedroso told the trial of George Gonzaga Bento that the accused was “distressed and emotional” when he came to his flat the following evening. Mr Pedroso, giving his evidence by video link from Brazil, said Mr Bento did not eat and wanted to go to a lawyer’s office that night but stayed with Mr Pedroso after they spoke on the phone to a lawyer who agreed to meet the following morning.

The witness described Mr Bento, his friend, as a “calm, peaceful person” and a “good guy in general” who worked hard.

Mr Pedroso also said he was aware of a problem with gangs in Dublin attacking delivery cyclists and said his own bike was robbed on one occasion.

George Gonzaga Bento (36), a Brazilian national with an address in East Wall in Dublin 3, is charged with murdering 16-year-old Josh at East Wall Road, East Wall on January 26, 2021.

Mr Bento is also accused of producing a utility knife in a manner likely to intimidate another in the course of a dispute or fight. The defendant is further accused of assault causing harm to two other young men on the same occasion. The delivery cyclist has pleaded not guilty to each of the four counts.

The prosecution alleges that Mr Bento produced a knife during a “stand-off or confrontation” with a man on a moped who had stolen another delivery cyclist’s bike. Josh Dunne and other youths arrived at the scene and got involved in the confrontation.

Mr Pedroso today told prosecution counsel Sean Guerin SC that he is from Brazil and moved to Ireland in March 2019 where he found work in the East Wall area of Dublin doing deliveries for UberEats.

He said he used an electric bike and would make between €300 and €350 per week if he worked every day.

He met Mr Bento and they became close friends. On January 27, 2021 he learned that gardai were looking for Mr Bento and heard that a person had died following an incident at East Wall. He told Mr Bento to come to his flat on Talbot Street and Mr Bento arrived at about 6pm or 7pm.

Mr Pedroso phoned several lawyers and found one who said he would meet Mr Bento the following morning. Mr Bento stayed in Mr Pedroso’s flat that night and went to the lawyer’s office first thing the following morning for a consultation, after which the accused went with the lawyer to Store Street Garda Station.

Mr Pedroso told Padraig Dwyer SC, for Mr Bento, that things were tough financially for him in Brazil so he moved to Ireland for a better life and to learn English. He became friends with Mr Bento who he described as a “calm, peaceful person, just a good guy in general.”

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He said Mr Bento worked very hard, “even more than myself”, getting paid €3.50 to €4.50 per delivery.

The witness agreed that after he learned about the incident at East Wall he invited Mr Bento to his flat and tried to find a lawyer because Mr Bento’s English wasn’t good enough.

Mr Bento wanted to see a lawyer that night but the lawyer that they spoke to wouldn’t meet until the following morning, the witness said.

The witness recalled that Mr Bento appeared “terrified, sad and scared” and when asked if the accused had any fear relating to living in Dublin 3, the witness said Mr Bento was afraid of “retaliation or attacks”. He did not eat, the witness said, and appeared “distressed and emotional”.

The trial continues tomorrow in front of Mr Justice Paul Burns and a jury of five men and seven women.

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Alison O'Riordan

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