Man’s killing was ‘act of premeditation’, says prosecutor

Paul Wells snr pleading not guilty to murder but admits shooting and dismembering

Seán Gillane SC said there was a body of evidence which established beyond any doubt that Paul Wells snr murdered Kenneth O’Brien. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Seán Gillane SC said there was a body of evidence which established beyond any doubt that Paul Wells snr murdered Kenneth O’Brien. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

The prosecutor in the trial of a man who shot his friend and dismembered his remains has told the jury that the deceased was not just murdered but executed “in an act of premeditation”.

Seán Gillane SC was giving his closing speech on Thursday in the Dubliner’s murder trial at the Central Criminal Court.

Paul Wells snr (50) of Barnamore Park, Finglas, has admitted shooting dead fellow Dubliner Kenneth O’Brien and dismembering his body. However, the father-of-five has pleaded not guilty to murdering the 33-year-old at his home in Barnamore Park on January 15th or 16th , 2016.

He claims the deceased had wanted him to murder Mr O’Brien’s partner, so that he could take their child back to Australia, where he had previously lived.

He told gardaí that Mr O’Brien had brought a gun to his house for this purpose on the evening of the 15th but that he did not want to do it. He said this resulted in a scuffle between them, that the gun fell, they both tried to get it, but that he got to it first and shot his friend in the back of the head.

‘Chopped into pieces’

He said that he then panicked, “chopped him into pieces” with a chainsaw Mr O’Brien had lent him, put his torso into Mr O’Brien’s suitcase and dumped it in the Grand Canal.

Mr Gillane said there was a body of evidence, which established beyond any doubt that “Mr Wells snr murdered Kenneth O’Brien and did so in an act of premeditation.”

He described the suggested plan to murder Eimear Dunne as “a nonsense wrapped in self-defeating contradictions”.

He reminded the jury of the pathologist’s finding of a contact entry wound, where the gun had been pressed up against the back of Mr O’Brien’s head.

“That, I suggest, is overwhelming evidence even on its own of an intention to kill or cause serious injury,” he said.

However, Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, questioned whether a prepared killer would have carried out the crime and the cover-up as his client had.

Destroying house

He drew the jury’s attention to what Mr Wells had told gardaí had gone through his head as he sat in his shed after the shooting. He claimed he had wondered how he would get the body through the family home without destroying the house .

“If you were going to kill somebody in the backyard of your own house . . . you wouldn’t wait until you were sitting on the beer crate to pose all these questions,” suggested the barrister. “Surely you would have posed them before you carried out your plan.”

He noted that his client had involved three of his adult children in the cover-up. “If you really were planning to kill somebody, would you be turning to three members of your family to get you out of this mess?” he asked. “I suggest no.”

Mr O’Higgins will continue his speech on Friday morning.