The wife of former solicitor Michael Lynn has told his multimillion euro theft trial that she didn’t know if he was “dead or alive” for five days after he went into a Brazilian prison.
Brid Murphy was in the witness box on day 47 of the trial of her husband, who is accused of stealing about €27 million from seven financial institutions.
Mr Lynn (53), of Millbrook Court, Red Cross, Co Wicklow, has pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of theft in Dublin between October 23rd, 2006 and April 20th, 2007.
Ms Murphy told the court how she first met Mr Lynn in 2000 in Portobello after a match. They met once again in 2004 and, after three months of dating, he proposed marriage. She was working as an ICU nurse in St Vincent’s Hospital in south Dublin at the time, and the couple began living in a house directly across from the hospital.
Ms Murphy told the court that in 2007 the Glenlion property in Howth, Co Dublin was purchased, but they never lived there. When asked if she had met any bankers regarding the purchase of the property, she replied “no” and that her only involvement was signing the ACC mortgage paperwork that was left on the kitchen table when she arrived home from work one evening.
The court heard that Ms Murphy was brought to the High Court in 2008 by ACC Bank regarding the Glenlion property. As a result, ACC Bank received the full amount of the loan issued, and this case was closed. At the same time, Bank of Scotland had also brought court proceedings against Ms Murphy, which were settled.
Ms Murphy told the court that her husband was based in Portugal at this time and that she would fly over and back to him. She had taken a career break to care for her sick father.
Paul Comiskey O’Keeffe, BL, defending, asked Ms Murphy when had she first travelled to Brazil with Mr Lynn. Ms Murphy said she travelled with Mr Lynn and another named man in 2005 for property purposes.
After her father passed away, the couple, who had been unable to have children, travelled to Brazil to meet a doctor who had been recommended to them by friends in Portugal. In October 2010, after the first visit with the doctor, Ms Murphy became pregnant.
Over the next nine months, the couple made many trips from their home in Portugal to Brazil for pregnancy check-ups and treatment. Then, in August 2011, Ms Murphy gave birth to their first child.
Counsel asked the witness if during this time when they were living in Brazil with their young child, were the couple trying to evade the police? She said no. “We were travelling on our passports, we initially had a six-month holiday visa, and once that was due to expire, we applied for a new visa.”
Ms Murphy told the court that documents such as proof of address, utility bills and identification were required to get the new visa. In addition, an unannounced police visit to their home took place as part of the visa process, she said.
In August 2013, Ms Murphy was seven months’ pregnant with her second child when Mr Lynn was arrested. He was taken into custody by five police officers, and several hours later she was asked to attend the police station where Mr Lynn was being held.
The police officers stood Mr Lynn in front of her and told her, “Look, he wasn’t beaten here.” He was then taken away in a car and she didn’t hear from him for five days.
“For five days I didn’t know if he was dead or alive,” said Ms Murphy.
During Mr Lynn’s time in prison, he was allowed conjugal visits with his wife. Mr Lynn and his wife had two more children.
Mr Comiskey O’Keeffe asked Ms Murphy how, after returning to Ireland with their four children, they have managed financially. She said that they receive social welfare payments and that their families are also supporting them.
Patrick McGrath SC, prosecuting, had no questions for Ms Murphy. The trial continues before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury.