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Jury begins deliberating in trial of murder accused who allegedly 'chopped' friend up with chainsaw

Paul Wells Snr (50) has admitted shooting dead fellow Dubliner Kenneth O’Brien and dismembering his body.

Garda activity on the Grand Canal at Sallins County Kildare, as the search continued with garda divers for dismembered body parts of murder victim Kenneth O'Brien
Garda activity on the Grand Canal at Sallins County Kildare, as the search continued with garda divers for dismembered body parts of murder victim Kenneth O'Brien
Image: Eamonn Farrell via RollingNews.ie

THE JURY HAS begun deliberating in the trial of a murder accused, who allegedly “chopped” up his friend with a chainsaw after shooting him in the defendant’s backyard.

Before it retired, the judge reminded the jury of seven coincidences that the defence says support the accused man’s story that he shot his friend during a scuffle over the deceased asking him to murder the mother of his child.

Paul Wells Snr (50) of Barnamore Park, Finglas has admitted shooting dead fellow Dubliner Kenneth O’Brien and dismembering his body. However, he has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering the 33-year-old at his home in Barnamore Park on 15 or 16 January, 2016.

The father-of-five claims that the deceased had wanted him to murder O’Brien’s partner so that he could take their child back to Australia, where he had previously lived.

‘Chopped him into pieces’

He told gardaí that O’Brien had brought a gun to his house for this purpose on the evening of the 15th but that he didn’t want to do it. He said this resulted in a scuffle between them, that the gun fell, they both tried to get it, but that he got to it first and shot his friend in the back of the head.

He said that he then panicked, “chopped him into pieces” with a chainsaw O’Brien had lent him, put his torso into O’Brien’s suitcase and dumped it in the Grand Canal.

Justice Paul McDermott began charging the jury on Friday and concluded earlier this afternoon.

He reminded the 11 jurors of matters that Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, had said supported his client’s defence that there was a conspiracy to murder O’Brien’s partner, Eimear Dunne.

O’Higgins had referred to them as a series of coincidences that arose on the very day that O’Brien had allegedly intended to have his partner killed.

These included the fact that the CCTV system in the couple’s home was not working that day and that its code had been changed, something Dunne said that only O’Brien could have done.

There was the cancellation, by O’Brien, of Dunne’s 30th birthday party that night; he had said he was working in Limerick that day, but this work was also cancelled.

The judge also reminded the jury that O’Brien had no house keys, but had cut some the previous day, that he “had two phones on the go”, and that his passport was missing at the time of his death.

He also noted that O’Higgins had argued that O’Brien had given suitcases to Wells, one of which was handed over at the boot of a car, with him allegedly telling Wells that he didn’t want Dunne to know about it.

Finally, he noted that the numbers for two of O’Brien’s employers had been removed from Dunne’s phones.

The judge explained that the defence case was that these coincidences supported the proposition that there was a conspiracy to murder Dunne. He reminded the jury that the prosecution had argued that there was premeditation in the killing of O’Brien.

The 11 members began deliberating shortly after noon. They were given three possible verdicts: guilty, not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter, or acquittal. They have been told to reach a unanimous decision.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing

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Natasha Reid

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