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Murder accused used knife to cut fruit and not for protection, delivery rider tells court

George Gonzaga Bento (36) is charged with murdering 16-year-old Josh Dunne at East Wall Road in January 2021.

The Central Criminal Court in Dublin City
The Central Criminal Court in Dublin City
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

A FOOD DELIVERY rider accused of stabbing schoolboy Josh Dunne to death used a utility knife to cut fruit and did not carry it for protection, a fellow delivery cyclist has told the Central Criminal Court.

Alex Lima also told the trial that the accused, George Gonzaga Bento, had previously told him that he was attacked several times in Dublin and had his bicycle stolen once.

Mr 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 26 January 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.

A pathologist has given evidence that Mr Dunne sustained two stab wounds to the chest including one that penetrated the main artery in the body.

Giving evidence today, Alex Lima told Sean Guerin SC, prosecuting, that he is from Sao Paulo in Brazil and that he knew Mr Bento from home.

Mr Lima said the accused helped him to move to Ireland from Sao Paulo and that he originally came here to visit his friend but then changed his VISA from a tourist to a student.

The witness said he worked as a food delivery cyclist and had his account with UberEats. He said Mr Bento helped him to buy his bicycle and that he mainly worked from McDonald’s in East Wall.

He said Mr Bento worked in the same location and he would have seen him every day.

The witness said he was previously attacked by two or three people close to the Ha’penny Bridge and they kicked the battery on his bicycle. “They tried to kick me but instead of reaching my body it reached the battery of my bicycle. I can’t tell if they were trying to rob me or attack me,” he explained.

When asked if he was aware at the time if Mr Bento had ever been attacked, the witness said the accused had told him that he had been attacked several times and had his bicycle stolen once.

Mr Lima made a statement to gardai on 29 January, in which he told gardai that Mr Bento carried a knife with him which he used for cutting fruit.

The witness agreed that he and Mr Bento would get fruit from Lidl and that he had seen the accused cutting his fruit with the knife whilst waiting for orders to come in from McDonald’s in East Wall.

Mr Guerin put it to the witness that he understood the knife Mr Bento carried was not for protection and that he [the witness] could not remember what the knife looked like. “I wasn’t able to describe it to gardai,” he replied.

Mr Lima said he saw the accused several times on 26 January at McDonald’s and that Mr Bento was using his bike, which wasn’t electric.

The witness said he did not speak to the accused that night but did become aware from the news that a person had been stabbed.

Mr Guerin put it to the witness that the accused told him the next morning that he had been attacked by 15 “dangerous people” and had stabbed “a guy” who was close to him. “He told me three people,” said the witness.

Earlier, Jason Gunning told Mr Guerin that he worked for Lidl and was contacted by the manager last year regarding a particular knife. He said he was provided with an image of the utility knife and had checked the internal product database where he was able to match the image.

The witness said there wasn’t a utility knife in stock at the time but he was able to obtain a sample of the same item from Germany.

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The witness said the knife was a safety utility knife and could be found in the DIY section of Lidl.

A sample of the safety utility knife was passed into the jury box by the exhibits officer.

Defence counsel Padraig Dwyer SC warned the jury members to be careful with the exposed blade.

Under cross-examination, the witness told Mr Dwyer that the safety utility knife can be used for various different functions and can be folded up so the blade doesn’t have to be exposed all the time.

Mr Dwyer asked the witness if only one blade can be opened at a time. “That seems to be the case,” he replied. The court heard that in order to open up the second blade the first blade has to be closed.

The barrister asked the witness if it was called a safety utility knife because only one blade opens at a time due to the “pressing of the spring mechanism”. Mr Gunning said it was and that it cost between €5 and €10.

Under cross-examination, a 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named because he is underage, agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending, that he had ran across the road that night “for the sake of it” and that he was incorrect when he told gardai in his statement that it was to help Josh as he [Josh] was holding the moped at the time. He agreed that he had punched one of the Deliveroo drivers and that it was something that had just happened in the moment.

The trial continues on Monday in front of Mr Justice Paul Burns and a jury of five men and seven women, when it is expected that Mr Lima will finish giving his evidence.

About the author:

Alison O'Riordan

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