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Neighbour tells trial he did not see anything strange on night Patricia O'Connor was allegedly murdered

The witness testified that the O’Connor family were very nice people as well as good neighbours.

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

THE NEIGHBOUR OF a retired grandmother, whose body was dismembered into 15 separate parts and scattered at locations in the Wicklow mountains, has told a jury that he did not see anything out of the ordinary on the night she was allegedly murdered, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

The witness testified that the O’Connor family were very nice people as well as good neighbours.

Evidence was also given that gardaí viewed CCTV footage and saw two men, whom they believed to be Kieran Greene and Keith Johnston, purchasing a number of tools in DIY stores, just days after the retired hospital worker was reported missing.

Sam Lin today gave evidence in the trial of father-of-three Greene (34), who has pleaded not guilty to murdering Patricia O’Connor (61) at her home in Mountain View Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14, 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 Greene, knowing or believing him to have committed an arrestable offence, to wit the murder of O’Connor on 29 May 2017.

The court has heard that the body of Mrs O’Connor was dismembered into 15 separate parts that were found at nine different locations over a 30km range in the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains between 10 and 14 June 2017.

Lin told prosecution counsel Roisin Lacey SC today that he had lived next door to the O’Connor’s house at Mountain View Park in Rathfarnham since 2002 and had bought his house in 2010. The witness agreed with Lacey that he had done quite a bit of renovation to it.

Lin testified that he knew the O’Connor family and said they were very nice people as well as good neighbours. If he was working late and his alarm went off, he said, the O’Connor’s would let him know.

The witness said he knew Gus and Patricia O’Connor in particular as well as their daughter Louise O’Connor and her then-partner Greene. He also said he knew the younger children in the house as they would play with his son.

Lin said the first he knew about the case was on 13 June 2017, when gardaí called to his house to look at his CCTV system.

The following day, Lin said a garda called to his house and asked him for the hard drive belonging to his CCTV system. Lin said he gave the garda permission to remove the hard drive from the CCTV system.

Lin said he did not see anything out of the ordinary on 29 May 2017 and the young children in the O’Connor’s house had not been out playing or calling for his child since then. However, he agreed with Lacey that the weather had been bad.

Under cross-examination by George Burns BL, for Stephanie O’Connor, Lin agreed that the CCTV system was installed between the front two windows of his house when it was renovated and his neighbours were aware of it.

Sergeant Barry Turner testified that he called to Lin’s house at Mountain View on 14 June 2017 and explained to him that human remains had been discovered in the Dublin Mountains and CCTV footage from his house was being sought for the purposes of an investigation. Lin gave his consent for gardaí to take possession of the CCTV system, he said.

Receipts 

Earlier Garda James Doolan told prosecution counsel Gerardine Small BL that he brought a receipt, found at Mountain View, to B&Q on the Belgard Road in Tallaght on 20 June 2017.

Doolan said he viewed CCTV footage in B&Q of two men, whom he believed to be Greene and Johnston, purchasing a number of items in the store on 9 June 2017.

The witness said the manager of B&Q looked up the point of sale and collected the exact items that had been bought by the men. These items were 30 extra-strong black rubbish sacks, two pairs of builders’ brick gloves, a tenon saw, two adjustable hacksaws and a light-duty protection sheet. Doolan purchased these items and the total price of the transaction came to €67.75.

The jury was shown the controlled purchases as well as two hacksaws, which were found at Dodder Valley Park in Tallaght on 2 January 2018.

Garda Gareth Collins told Small that he was aware another receipt had been found in Mountain View pertaining to purchases made at Woodies in Tallaght on 9 June 2017. Collins testified that he went to Woodies on 20 June 2017 and informed the manager of the receipt number, which provided an exact time and date for him to view the CCTV footage.

Collins said he observed two males in the CCTV footage, whom he believed to be Greene and Johnston. The witness said he saw one of the men selecting two small axes and then both men had picked up knife blades. Collins said Greene paid for these items with cash.

Collins said he made a controlled purchase of a packet of knife blades as the axes were sold out.

The witness said he went to Woodies on the Long Mile Road on 21 June and purchased two small fibreglass-handled axes, each with a 600g head. The axes which were purchased were shown to the jury.

The jury heard that an axe had been found at Dodder Valley Park on 2 January 2018 and this was also shown to the jury.

Collins said he was in possession of a receipt found at Mountain View in relation to a transaction made at Shoe Zone in Tallaght on 9 June 2017. The witness said he went to Shoe Zone on 20 June 2017 and was told by the manager that two pairs of green wellington boots in size nines had been bought on that date. The wellington boots which were purchased were also shown to the jury.

Garda Maurice Hickey gave evidence that he was in possession of a receipt taken from a Toyota Corolla car concerning items purchased at Mr Price in Tallaght on 9 June 2017. Hickey said he went to the store to carry out a test purchase on 19 June 2017 and bought a jerry can, a tow rope, two knives and vinyl tape. The knives were out of stock in Tallaght so he went to the Arklow branch and purchased them, he said. The four items bought were shown to the jury.

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.

‘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, 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 Mountain View 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.

The trial will continue on Monday 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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