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Murder accused told gardaí that wife stabbed herself

The trial of Renato Gehlen (39) opened today.

A PAYPAL EMPLOYEE accused of murdering his wife told gardaí that she had stabbed herself leaving him so distraught that he then stabbed himself, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Opening the trial of 39-year-old Renato Gehlen, Shane Costelloe SC for the Director of Public Prosecutions said the jury will also hear evidence that the accused man was upset that his wife Anne Colomines wanted a divorce. On the night her body was found, Gehlen is alleged to have told a friend: “I have just killed Anne and I’m going to kill myself.”

Costelloe said that gardaí and members of the Dublin Fire Brigade went to the home that Gehlen shared with his wife and found the already deceased body of Ms Colomines alongside the accused, who had a knife protruding from his torso.

Gehlen, counsel said, had “extensive wounds” and underwent lengthy treatment at the Mater Hospital. When he was released from hospital gardaí arrested him and he told them that Ms Colomines had stabbed herself and that was how she died. He said he became so distraught that he stabbed himself.

Gehlen (39), a Brazilian national, has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife Anne Colomines (37), a French national, at their home in Dorset Square, Gardiner Street upper, Dublin 1 on 25 October 2017. 

Costelloe told the jury of five women and seven men that Gehlen and Ms Colomines were married in October 2012 and lived in an apartment on Gardiner Street. Both were employed by Paypal at the time of Ms Colomines’ death, counsel said.

He said the jury will hear evidence that in the weeks and months before her death the marriage was in “serious difficulty” and Ms Colomines had told Gehlen she wanted a divorce. Counsel said: “He was not happy that the marriage would end and he was trying to revive, repair or keep the marriage going.”

In October 2017, Ms Colomines had been to France for a holiday and on her return  Gehlen collected her from the airport. Gehlen, counsel said, took the view that Ms Colomines still wanted a divorce and “that was something he was not at all happy about.”

That evening, Gehlen went to a bar with a friend, who Costelloe said will testify that the accused was “very upset and distraught” that the marriage was going to end.

When Gehlen went home later that evening he exchanged Facebook messages with the same friend in which Gehlen, counsel said, “expressed a desire to stab.”

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Gehlen’s friend was concerned and tried to contact Gehlen, Costelloe said. When he finally spoke to Gehlen at 23.12pm, the accused told his friend: “I have killed Anne and I’m going to kill myself.”

When gardaí and members of the Dublin Fire Brigade went to the apartment they forced entry, went upstairs and saw the bodies of the deceased and the accused. Ms Colomines showed no signs of life. Gehlen had a knife protruding from his torso but still showed signs of life and was taken to the Mater Hospital.

Costelloe said the jury will also hear from State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan who will say that she found “a number of wounds” on Ms Colomines including “four significant wounds to the torso” one of which penetrated the sac surrounding the heart and caused her death.

The pathologist, counsel said, will also give her opinion on Gehlen’s statement that his wife stabbed herself.

The trial continues in front of Justice Michael MacGrath and a jury of five women and seven men.

About the author:

Eoin Reynolds

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