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Man told gardaí he 'took the rap' for killing partner's mother but felt he was being set up, court hears

Kieran Greene denies murdering Patricia O’Connor in May 2017.

Patricia O’Connor
Patricia O’Connor
Image: RollingNews.ie

A MAN ACCUSED of murdering his partner’s mother told gardaí he “took the rap” for killing and dismembering the woman but felt he was being set-up, as his girlfriend subsequently started going back out with her ex-partner, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Father-of-three Kieran Greene told interviewing detectives that Patricia O’Connor’s husband, Gus, had hit her twice with a black bar or crowbar, telling him: “I’m defending you so you can take the rap for this.”

The accused man also told gardaí that Keith Johnston, his partner’s ex, “made a plan” and had cut up O’Connor’s body parts beside a shallow grave in Wexford. He said his partner Louise O’Connor had told him “to get rid” of her mother’s body and cleaned the bathroom floor.

Greene also claimed his stepdaughter Stephanie O’Connor pretended to dress up as her retired grandmother to make it look like Patricia O’Connor had gone missing.

The jury was today listening to a garda interview conducted with Greene on 9 December 2017. The 34-year-old has pleaded not guilty to murdering O’Connor (61) at her home in Mountain View Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14 on May 29, 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 Greene, knowing or believing him to have committed an arrestable offence, the murder of Patricia O’Connor on 29 May 2017.

Body parts found at locations in mountains 

Evidence has been given that the body of Mrs O’Connor was dismembered into 15 separate parts that were found at nine different locations, ranging over 30km, in the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains between 10 and 14 June 2017.

The jury has heard that Greene walked into Rathfarnham Garda Station on 12 June 2017 and told a detective he had done “something terrible” and had scattered the body parts of the grandmother in the Dublin mountains.

Following this, Greene gave four voluntary statements to gardaí on 12 and 13 June 2017 in which he described chopping up the body of his partner’s mother beside a shallow grave “to make her lighter”, before he packed the parts into black bags and threw them “all over the place up there”. In his interviews with gardaí, Greene maintained he had carried out these activities completely on his own.

Greene was arrested for the murder on the evening of 13 June 2017 after he brought gardaí to the shallow grave in Wexford, where he said he had buried the deceased before returning some days later and cutting up her body.

Detective Sergeant Brian Hanley, attached to the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, told prosecution counsel Roisin Lacey SC today that a request was made by Greene to speak to members of the senior investigating team.

Greene had been charged with the murder of Mrs O’Connor and was on remand in Cloverhill Prison, he said. Detective Sergeant Hanley said he met with Greene in a visiting room in Cloverhill Prison on 9 December 2017 at 5pm.

The witness said Greene told him he wanted to discuss the case and explained that he had been attacked by Mrs O’Connor with a hurley in the bathroom of her home. Mrs O’Connor told Greene it was her house and she could do what she wanted, Greene said. They were struggling with the hurley, Mrs O’Connor got hold of it and winded him in the stomach before he went on the ground, the accused man continued. 

Greene said he heard someone coming down the stairs at this point. The husband of Patricia O’Connor, Gus O’Connor, came into the bathroom and gave out to his wife saying: “What the fuck are you doing?”, he continued.

Following this, O’Connor tried to hit Gus with the hurl but missed, Greene said. Gus then hit his wife twice in the head with a black bar or crowbar before she fell on the bathroom floor, Greene said.

The accused said Gus told him: “I’m defending you so you can take the rap for this.” Greene said they panicked and didn’t know what to do so he took Mrs O’Connor to her bedroom. His partner, Louise O’Connor, came downstairs after hearing the voices and told them to “get rid” of her mother’s body so he put her in the boot of the car.

Greene said he drove to Wexford, took Mrs O’Connor out of the car, dug a hole and buried her on farmland.

After Mrs O’Connor was buried that night, Greene said he drove back to the Mountain View house and Louise was cleaning the bathroom. “I told her she was buried,” he said.

‘Made a plan’ 

A day or two later, Greene said he asked Keith Johnston for help as he had already been informed about the incident. Johnston told Greene to leave it with him and a day or two later he came to Mountain View and said he had “made a plan”, he continued.

Greene said he and Johnston had gone to a Mr Price shop and bought a petrol can, two stanley blades, tape and a tow rope. They also got black bags and Johnston got a hacksaw in B&Q, he added.

Later that night, Greene said he brought Johnston to where the body of Mrs O’Connor was buried in Wexford. They dug the body up from the shallow grave and Johnston started cutting her up with a saw, he said. Greene said he was getting sick at the time.

The accused said Johnston put her body parts into black bags before bringing him up the Wicklow Mountains. They were there for three to four hours, he said. “He [Mr Johnston] took bags from the back of the car and emptied it, he continued doing this until all the bags were gone,” Greene said, adding that they had changed their clothes on the way back.

Greene said Johnston told him: “I know this is on you brother. I’ve a background in drugs and can’t get into anymore trouble.” Greene said he agreed to take the blame and Johnston told him: “They will probably go easy on you.”

Johnston dumped the tools in Dodder Valley Park and they burnt the clothes they had been wearing, Greene said, adding that Johnston came to the house the next day and painted the bathroom. Greene said he was persuaded “into taking the blame for all this” and had said he would.

In relation to Stephanie O’Connor, Greene said she had pretended to dress up as her grandmother to make it look like Mrs O’Connor had gone missing and left the house that night carrying a suitcase.

“We all agreed I’d take the blame, why I don’t know. I feel I shouldn’t be taking the blame. I feel I was set up because my mrs and Keith are going back out,” he said.

“I’m facing a murder charge and they are out there and I’m taking the rap for it. The only reason I didn’t say anything sooner was because I was afraid for the kids,” he continued.

“I was persuaded to do all of this,” he said, adding that he was concerned for his children if he and Louise had been arrested. “Now, I know they will go up to my ma,” he said.

Evidence has been given that Augustine ‘Gus’ O’Connor and Richard O’Connor, the husband and son of Mrs O’Connor, made a missing person report to gardaí at Rathfarnham Garda Station concerning Patricia O’Connor on  1 June 2017.

Former Deputy State Pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis, has given evidence that the grandmother’s body was most likely dismembered using a power tool and it was probable that her hands had been removed by a non-powered hand-held saw. The expert witness noted that her head was struck a minimum of three blows with a solid implement and the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

Not guilty pleas

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 Mountain View 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 Mountain View Park between 31 May 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 Mountain View Park at a point in time after her murder on 29 May 2017 in order to conceal the fact that she was already dead.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of six men and six women.

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About the author:

Alison O'Riordan

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