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File photo. Patricia O'Connor
patricia O'connor

Body of 61-year-old woman was dismembered into 15 separate parts, murder trial hears

Kieran Greene has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Patricia O’Connor on 29 May 2017.

THE BODY OF a 61-year-old grandmother was dismembered into 15 separate parts that were found at nine different locations in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains, a prosecution barrister has told a murder trial.

The Central Criminal Court also heard that Patricia O’Connor received a minimum of three blows to the head with a solid implement at her Rathfarnham home before her body was brought in the boot of her Toyota Corolla car to Co Wexford and buried in a shallow grave.

Her remains were later dug up and the body dismembered using hacksaws and a hatchet over the course of three to four hours. Her head along with both hands were later discovered in a plastic bag.

Kieran Greene (34) of Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14 has pleaded not  guilty to murdering Patricia O’Connor (61) at the same address on 29 May 2017.

The deceased’s daughter Louise O’Connor (41) and granddaughter Stephanie O’Connor (22), both of Millmount Court, Dundrum Road, Dublin 14, and Louise O’Connor’s ex-partner Keith Johnston (43), of Avonbeg Gardens, Tallaght, Dublin 24 are all charged with impeding the apprehension or prosecution of Mr Greene, knowing or believing him to have committed an arrestable offence, to wit the murder of Patricia O’Connor on 29 May 2017.

Prosecution opens

Opening the prosecution’s case today, Roisin Lacey SC said the offences alleged against the four accused are “so closely connected in time” and the movements of the individuals involved are important in order to understand the significance of the facts of the case.

Addressing the jury, Lacey said O’Connor lived in a modest four-bedroom property in Rathfarnham with her husband Gus, their daughter Louise O’Connor and her partner Kieran Greene, their three young children as well as Louise’s two children with Keith Johnston.

Lacey said the living conditions were quite cramped, which did not lend itself to a happy environment. “Tensions in the house were high and it was stressful at time. There were interpersonal conflicts and tensions between these individuals,” she outlined.

Lacey said the jury will hear that Mr O’Connor and his son Richard went to Rathfarnham Garda Station on 1 June 2017 to report that Mrs O’Connor had been missing since 29 May.

A missing person report was created and gardai at Rathfarnham Garda Station commenced an investigation as to her whereabouts, she continued.

Detailing the facts of the case, Lacey said that 15 separate body parts were found at nine different locations in the Dublin mountains between 10 and 14 June 2017.

These body parts were found in a disparate region, mostly off the Military Road in Enniskerry, in an area covering approximately 30km, she said, adding that other locations included Glencree, Glenmacnass Waterfall and Sally Gap.

The body parts were initially recovered by members of the public and then by members of the investigation team, said Lacey, highlighting that every body part of Mrs O’Connor had been found.

Post mortem

The court will also hear evidence, the lawyer said, about a post-mortem being conducted on these body parts by Deputy State Pathologist Professor Michael Curtis.

The barrister went on to tell the court that it was believed the body parts belonged to a male in his 20s in the early parts of the investigation, which Lacey said was erroneous. It was only through a DNA analysis that the body parts were identified as belonging to the deceased.

Mrs O’Connor was also identified through dental records as she had extensive dental work performed ten years previously, said counsel.

Lacey said it was recorded by Professor Curtis during the post-mortem that O’Connor’s head and hands had been found in a plastic bag. It was Professor Curtis’ conclusion that the deceased’s head was struck a minimum of three blows with a solid implement and the cause of death was blunt force trauma to her head, she said.

The accused

In relation to the evidence against the accused Greene, Lacey said he attended at Rathfarnham Garda Station on 12 June, when the body parts were still being discovered and admitted killing his mother-in-law on 29 or 30 May.

Greene told gardaí there had been a dispute in the downstairs bathroom during which Mrs O’Connor hit him with a hurley stick and he hit her back a few times before she fell on the ground, said Lacey.

Counsel said Greene further told gardaí that he put Mrs O’Connor’s body in the boot of her Toyota Corolla car and drove up the Dublin mountains, adding that he had acted alone at all times and no one in the family was aware of what he had done or even that she was dead.

When Greene was making these confessions, gardaí were concerned with the dismembered body of a young male in his 20s and not a woman so there was some scepticism about what he saying, said Lacey.

Greene returned to the garda station the following day, where he said that he had not gone straight to the Dublin mountains but had taken her intact body to Wexford and buried her in a shallow grave.

On the evening of 13 June, Greene agreed to go with gardai to Blackwater in Wexford to show them where he buried Mrs O’Connor’s body intact.

Greene was arrested for Mrs O’Connor’s murder after the investigating team found what appeared to be hair in the shallow grave as well as a piece of floral fabric.

Row over cat

Greene told gardaí in further interviews that there had been a row over a cat on 29 May and Mrs O’Connor had stormed out of the house but returned around midnight, when everyone was in bed. She came into the bathroom and struck him with a hurley in the bathroom before he struck her a number of times and she fell and hit head.

He said to gardaí that he brought the body in the boot of a car to Wexford and no other family member saw what had happened.

He returned to Wexford on 9 June and dug up the body using a hacksaw before discarding the body in the Dublin mountains. When the discovery of the body parts were in the news, he came to the garda station to confess his part in the killing of Mrs O’Connor, he said.

CCTV footage, Lacey said, will show Mrs O’Connor wearing a floral dress in the front of her garden on 29 May. The barrister said the prosecution case against Greene is that he murdered Mrs O’Connor as some point after 18.35, when she is last seen entering the house from the rear garden.

The court will see CCTV footage of a person carrying a suitcase and leaving the house at 21.34 on the night, she said. This person is wearing a jacket with its hood up, covering their face and hair.

At 22.05, a female enters the rear of the property through the side of the house. It is the prosecution case that this female is Stephanie O’Connor and the person who left the house at 21.34 was Stephanie O’Connor, said Lacey.

“The prosecution say that at no point in time in CCTV can Stephanie O’Connor as Stephanie O’Connor be seen leaving the property through the rear of the house,” she remarked, adding that this was a ruse to pretend that Mrs O’Connor had stormed out of the house carrying a suitcase in order to cover up the arrestable offence of murder.

However, Lacey said Mrs O’Connor was already dead in the house at the time.

Lacey said Mrs O’Connor was lying dead in a shallow grave and not yet dismembered when Johnston assisted Greene in purchasing DIY items.

He also redecorated the bathroom and told gardaí that at the time of carrying out the repairs he felt a tense atmosphere in the house and had a nagging thought in the back of his head that he could be potentially cleaning up a crime scene, said Lacey.


Louise O’Connor, Stephanie O’Connor and Keith Johnston were arrested by gardaí in September 2017 and denied all involvement in the event, she said.

Greene told gardaí in December 2017 that what he had originally told them was not correct and other family members were involved in the event, said the lawyer.

Greene claimed Mrs O’Connor had attacked him with a hurley, he fell to the ground and at this point Gus O’Connor entered the bathroom, carrying a crowbar and hit his wife twice. Greene told gardaí that Gus had killed his wife using a crowbar and he [Greene] had taken the blame, outlined Lacey.

Greene told gardai in his later interviews that he and Johnston went to Wexford and Johnston spent three to four hours dismembering Mrs O’Connor’s body, said Lacey.

He further told gardaí that Johnston directed him through the Dublin mountains where they disposed of her body parts, she said. Greene also claimed that Stephanie O’Connor had dressed up as her grandmother to pretend she was alive, said counsel, adding that he had been persuaded to take the blame and had been set up by others.

Two hacksaws and one hatchet were later discovered near the Dodder river and there was a piece of hair on one of the hacksaws which provided “moderate support” as a link to Mrs O’Connor, concluded Lacey.

Louise O’Connor has pleaded not guilty to agreeing to or acquiescing in her daughter Stephanie O’Connor disguising herself as Patricia O’Connor at Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14 on 29 May 2017 in order to conceal the fact that Patricia O’Connor was dead.

Johnston has pleaded not guilty to assisting Greene in the purchase of various implements at Woodie’s, Mr Price, B&Q and Shoe Zone, Tallaght, Dublin 24 on 9 June, 2017, which were to be used in the concealment of the remains of Mrs O’Connor.

Johnston also denies engaging in the refurbishment of a bathroom at Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14 between 31 May 2017 and 9 June 2017, in order to destroy or conceal any evidence relating to the murder of Mrs O’Connor.

Stephanie O’Connor has pleaded not guilty to disguising herself as Mrs O’Connor at Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14 at a point in time after her murder on 29 May 2017 in order to conceal the fact that she was already dead.

Mrs O’Connor was first reported missing on 1 June 2017 and a number of her body parts, including her head and hands, were discovered dispersed in a 30km area across the Wicklow mountains later that month. The deceased had worked at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin and had retired about a year before she died.

The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of six men and six women. It is expected to last between five and seven weeks.

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Alison O'Riordan