Woman thought murder accused was joking when he said he killed someone

Former colleague thought Ionut Cosmin Nicolescu ‘sounded ridiculous’ when he made claim during work break

STOCK: The Courts of Criminal Justice on Parkgate St. Dublin
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A woman has told a court that she believed a murder accused was joking when he confided in her that he had killed someone just days after the dismembered body of a 64-year-old man was found in the grounds of a derelict house in Cork.

Tanja Bosnjak told the trial of Ionut Cosmin Nicolescu (30) that he made the comment during a work break at the Silver Key pub in Ballinlough in Cork on December 29th, 2019.

Ms Bosnjak said she was sitting at a table in the hallway between the kitchen and the restaurant when Mr Nicoloscu, who worked there as an assistant chef and whom she knew as ‘Johnny’, came over to her.

“He approached my table and told he me he wanted to tell me a secret. I was eating and I said ‘Okay Johnny, what do you want to tell me? And he said, ‘I killed someone’. When I heard it in the first moment, it sounded ridiculous ... he repeated it and said, ‘I killed someone’,” she said.


“I said ‘Okay when did this happen? And he said ‘if I remember correctly, two days ago,’. I asked him could he stop talking nonsense and he said, ‘I may have cut off his hands’; and again I told him to stop talking nonsense. The entire time he was laughing, and it looked like a joke.”

Ms Bosnjak was giving evidence on the fifth day of the trial of Mr Nicolescu, from Branista Village, Damovita County, Romania, who denies the murder of Frankie Dunne (64) at Castle Greine House on Boreenamanna Road, Cork between December 27th and 28th, 2019.

Testifying with the assistance of a Croatian interpreter, Ms Bosnjak gave her evidence via a video link from Vukovar in Croatia to the jury of four men and eight women hearing the case before Mr Justice Paul McDermott at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.

She told prosecution counsel Ray Boland SC that she and Mr Nicolescu were speaking in English at the time, but he was called away to the kitchen soon after. She said she found what he had said upsetting as she could not imagine saying that to someone while they were eating.

Ms Bosnjak said that at around 5pm on the same day she was on another break and Mr Nicolescu again approached her. She said he again raised the issue with her and asked her if he had scared her earlier on.

“I asked him if he was joking or if he really did it?” she said. “He said he was joking, he had been joking. I told him not to joke like that, it was in poor taste. He asked me if my opinion of him had changed after that? I said, ‘No’, but not to joke like that any more.”

The witness told defence counsel Philipp Rahn SC that she did not know if Mr Nicolescu was trying to shock or impress her when he said he killed someone, but that this type of story did not impress her even though she later told gardaí she was sure he did not kill anyone and was making a joke.

Further questioned by Mr Rahn if she recalled telling gardaí that Mr Nicolescu was very slight, and that if one saw him from behind they might think he was a teenager, she confirmed she had described him like that. She also confirmed she had said he was “a very nice person” as far as she was concerned.

Mr Rahn put it to Ms Bosnjak that some of the other kitchen staff at the Silver Key had made fun of Mr Nicolescu for being gay. She said she did not know about that but remembered them “making fun of him, saying in a derogatory way that he was from Romania and that he was a gypsy”.

The case continues.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times