Murder accused rang garda from Romania to deny role in killing, court hears

Ionut Cosmin Nicolescu (30) claims two men forced him to dispose of Frankie Dunne’s body

A man accused of murdering a 64-year-old father of three phoned a senior garda and told him he had nothing to do with the killing but was forced to dispose of the dismembered body by two armed men.

Ionut Cosmin Nicolescu (30) called then Det Insp Vincent O’Sullivan, now a Chief Superintendent, on January 2nd, 2020 from Romania after the garda said he wanted to ask him about the murder of Frankie Dunne, whose body was found in the grounds of Castle Greine House in Cork a week earlier.

Chief Supt O’Sullivan told the Central Criminal Court he was in the car park at Anglesea Street Garda station in Cork when he received the call at 1.37pm. He spoke to Mr Nicolescu and informed him that he was going to ask his colleague, Det Sgt Clodagh O’Sullivan, to witness and record their conversation.

“I wasn’t expecting the call, I was sort of caught on the hop,” he said. “I put the phone on speaker and she (Det Sgt O’Sullivan) recorded it.”


A recording of the phone conversation was played for the jury of four men and eight women on Tuesday.

Mr Nicolescu, from Branista Village, Damovita County, Romania, denies the murder of Mr Dunne at Castle Greine House on Boreenamanna Road between December 27th and 28th, 2019.

Mr Nicolescu said during the call that while working as a chef at the Silver Key pub and restaurant, he had been squatting at Castle Greine House even though there was no electricity or running water in the derelict property.

He told Chief Supt O’Sullivan he returned to the house on the night of December 27th after shopping in an Aldi store and found two men standing over a body near the porch. He said the men ordered him to drag the body, which had no clothes on it, through a door at the side of the house into a back garden, where “they cut up the body, they f***ing cut it up”.

Big sword

“One guy was behind me with a big sword like a machete. He told me to ‘shut the f**k up’. I didn’t know how to react. I said ‘I don’t want to die – don’t hit me with the sword. He told me to come with him or he was going to burst my head with the sword,” said Mr Nicolescu.

Chief Supt O’Sullivan asked Mr Nicolescu to describe the two men and he said that the first was taller than him, had a beard and was in in his late 30s or early 40s. He was armed with the machete.

He said the other man was smaller, in his 20s, dressed all in black with white shoes and a woolly hat, had red hair and was holding a knife.

“They asked me to drag the body into the back. I got it (the body) by the arms and proceeded to drag the body into the back…The smaller guy started to cut up the body and the taller guy stood over me with the machete.”

He said the men ordered him to put a bag containing Mr Dunne’s head in the bushes along with his arms and the torso. He said he was afraid they would kill him if he did not obey them. When he turned around after putting the remains in the bush, the two men were gone, he said.

“I did not do anything, I did not kill the guy. I did not do it. All I did was carry the body for them and put it in the bushes,” he told the garda.

Chief Supt O’Sullivan asked Mr Nicolescu why he did not contact gardaí after the incident. He said he did not do so because he feared that the two men “would f**k me up”.

Mr Nicolescu said he wanted to help the Garda, but was innocent and did not want to go to prison as something bad could happen there.

He said that he was not “a bad guy” and Chief Supt O’Sullivan insisted he was not saying that. “I am not saying you are a bad guy but the sooner I meet you, the sooner I can verify what happened and your version of events,” he said.

Chief Supt O’Sullivan said that if it was a reassurance to Mr Nicolescu, he would have a solicitor present to ensure that everything was done properly. He said he was not setting out “to wrong” him and all he wanted to do was to get to the truth of what happened to Mr Dunne.

The case continues.