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Murder-accused portrayed as both 'a moron' and 'Machiavelli mastermind', defence tells trial

The accused, 35-year-old Kieran Greene, gave differing statement to Gardaí in June and December 2017.

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

A MAN ACCUSED of murdering his partner’s mother has been portrayed as both “a moron” and “Machiavelli himself”, his defence counsel told the Central Criminal Court today, adding that the description “doesn’t add up”.

Conor Devally SC said his client had a “developmental difficulty” and was portrayed as a “moron” and “a donkey” yet he supposedly buried retired hospital worker Patricia O’Connor in a shallow grave in the middle of the night.

He suggested to the jury that the deceased’s husband, Augustine ‘Gus’ O’Connor, was “intimately involved” in ensuring his wife’s body was disposed of.

Father-of-three Kieran Greene (35) has pleaded not guilty to murdering Patricia O’Connor at her home in Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14 on 29 May 2017. Greene is the former partner of Louise O’Connor and father to three of her five children.

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 Patricia O’Connor on 29 May 2017.

The trial has heard that the body of 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.

Former Deputy State Pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis, has given evidence that O’Connor’s head was struck a minimum of three blows with a solid implement and the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

Evidence has been given that Greene walked into Rathfarnham Garda Station on 12 June 2017 and told a detective that he had done “something terrible” and dismembered the body of Patricia O’Connor on his own.

In his June interview with gardaí, Greene said he was in the bathroom when Patricia O’Connor walked in and hit him with a hurl on the wrist, saying ‘Get out, Get out’. Greene said he grabbed the hurl from her, hit her and did not know want happened next as when he woke up there was blood everywhere and he panicked.

The trial has already heard that six months after he was charged with her murder, Greene changed his account of killing and dismembering his partner’s mother. He told gardaí on 9 December that he had taken “the rap” and felt he was being set-up, as his girlfriend Louise O’Connor subsequently started going back out with her ex-boyfriend Keith Johnston.

In the December interview, Greene told detectives that O’Connor attacked him with a hurley. He said O’Connor’s husband, Gus O’Connor, came into the bathroom after he fell to the ground and gave out to his wife saying: “What the fuck are you doing?”

Greene told detectives that O’Connor had killed his wife using a crowbar and he [Greene] had taken the blame.

The defence’s closing statements

Giving his closing statement today, defence counsel Conor Devally SC, for Greene, said his client had given two accounts of how O’Connor had died.

Greene’s interviews from June, where he contended he had done everything on his own, were “a whole pack of lies”, said Devally, adding that despite this the prosecution wanted to treat this as a full account of murder. “If this is a full and thorough confession of murder, no one else would be on trial so obviously it’s riddled with lies,” he submitted.

Devally told the jury that if the June interview was such a “thorough and truthful confession”, then no one else would be on trial.

He said the prosecution wanted the jury to “cherry pick the bit” that goes with his guilt. “You have been told in every other aspect of the case that what he says is false and are yet being told it must be true about” his June account, he submitted.

Questioning the evidence, he asked the jurors how Greene could have killed O’Connor, removed her body from the house and grotesquely cut her up without anyone knowing or helping him.

“Has he the capacity to do it all on his own and tell such intricate lies?” asked the barrister. He said his client was “well primed by others” to go to Rathfarnham Garda Station on 12 June. The lies he told gardaí in those interviews were confusing, he said, adding that he was not very good at them.

He drew the jury’s attention to Joan Greene’s evidence, where she testified that her son was assessed when he was in first class in primary school and found to be “two and a half years behind”.

Devally submitted that Joan Greene had given evidence to show the deficits under which her son laboured, he said. The barrister called this a developmental difficulty rather than an academic one.

Devally told the jurors that Greene had been portrayed in the trial as detached, “part of the furniture”, a bit deficient, “a moron” and maybe a bit of “a donkey” yet “somehow remarkably he had gone off to bury” O’Connor in the middle of the night.

Going through the evidence in the trial, Devally said a decision was made very quickly on the evening of 29 May that the children could not see anything and so they left the house and went to the park with Louise and Stephanie at 6.53pm.

Devally said the jury knew that Gus O’Connor did not go to the park immediately with the others and there was reason for this. “Maybe Gus had to take the crowbar with him, someone had to dispose of that,” said Devally.

Counsel said Greene was supposed to be acting solo in the disposal of O’Connor but he was suggesting to the jury that Gus O’Connor was intimately involved in ensuring “it was done”.

‘Could he have done that?’

Evidence has been given that Gus O’Connor was originally part of the trial but shortly before it began, he pleaded guilty to reporting his wife Patricia O’Connor as a missing person to gardaí at Rathfarnham Garda Station, Dublin 14 on 1 June 2017, when he knew that she was already dead.

Counsel suggested to the jury that no one else was interested in protecting Greene and if anyone was going to be defended it was not his client. Greene was “persuaded” to take the blame and said he would take it all on himself, he said, adding that his children would then have a mother and a grandfather with a house.

“His state of mind in June is to ensure that no one else is implicated. Do you think it was his idea to get someone else dressed up, do you really think he could have done that?” he asked.

Devally said his client wanted to tell the truth when he came forward to gardaí in December. He asked the jury was it reasonably possible that Greene did not kill O’Connor, as much of what was said in his December interview had “an awful lot of truth in it”.

The barrister said his client’s “martyrdom” was no longer of any purpose in December as the others had been arrested and he not been able to protect his children, the only thing he held so dear.

Garda approach to December interview

There was 273 jobs in the “Garda jobs books” before Greene gave his “utterly different” account to gardaí in December, said Devally, pointing out that the jobs in the book ended at 290 following his client’s December confession.

The lawyer submitted that gardaí were saying “don’t trust the December interview and trust the ones in June” and all the steps taken from then on concerned Johnston, despite Gus O’Connor taking centre stage in Greene’s December interview.

“Do they have the interest to ask the questions that might strengthen the credibility that it was not Mr Greene who inflicted the fatal blow?” he asked the jury, adding that gardaí did not want to know who had helped him with his story.

He asked the jury to consider the reasonable possibility that his client did not kill  O’Connor and much of what he said in December was true.

“In December he said he didn’t kill her, in June he said he did everything. June is not accurate, there is a lot of truth of what was said in December,” he suggested

“He is a moron and useless and yet he is Machiavelli himself, a mastermind. It doesn’t add up,” he said and urged the jury to acquit his client of murder.

Mother-of-five 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.

Stephanie O’Connor has pleaded not guilty to disguising herself as Patricia 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.

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 Patricia O’Connor.

Defence counsel Garnet Orange SC, for Stephanie O’Connor, will give his closing speech to the jury tomorrow.

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Alison O'Riordan

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