Messages deleted from phone of girlfriend of man accused of garda’s murder, court hears

Aaron Brady is on trial for the murder of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe in Louth in 2013

Aaron Brady has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe. File photograph: Collins

Aaron Brady has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe. File photograph: Collins


About 10 messages were deleted from Aaron Brady’s girlfriend’s phone in the hours before and after the fatal shooting of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

One of the deleted messages, which was sent on the afternoon following the shooting, read: “Please Jess, I just want to get away til this blows over.” Mr Brady also told his girlfriend Jessica King: “I will probably just go into them tomorrow. Everything will probably be okay.” He added: “Tell them it’s fine. I just want to go away from here and get something to eat or go to the cinema.”

Mr Brady (29), from New Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, has pleaded not guilty to the capital murder of Det Gda Donohoe (41), who was then a member of An Garda Síochána on active duty, shortly before 9.30pm on January 25th, 2013, at Lordship Credit Union, Bellurgan, Co Louth.

He has also pleaded not guilty to a charge of robbing approximately €7,000 in cash and assorted cheques on the same date and at the same location.

Sgt Karen Coughlan told prosecution counsel Lorcan Staines SC on Monday that she selected 156 relevant pieces of information out of about 10,000 that were lifted from Jessica King’s phone using a programme called Cellebrite. She said there were a number of messages between Ms King and a phone that was saved as AaronX in her phone’s contacts list.

On the night of the robbery there were also exchanges between Ms King and a phone number saved as Brades2.

Many of the messages, Sgt Coughlan said, concerned an argument between Mr Brady and Ms King on the night before the shooting. In one text Ms King told Mr Brady to “shut the f**k up about a stupid hat” and that they were “finished”. In a series of messages he told her he loved her and didn’t want to break up.

On the night of the robbery and shooting, Sgt Coughlan said, there was a series of deleted messages between Ms King and the two phones attributed to Mr Brady. In the first deleted message Mr Brady told Ms King he had to load a lorry that night and he would text her when he got home. At 10.47pm, more than one hour and 15 minutes after the shooting, there was a Facebook instant message from Mr Brady asking if Ms King was awake and telling her he was sorry that he hadn’t texted her but his other phone went dead.

Same message

The exact same message was sent to her phone via SMS from the phone named Brades2 and three minutes later there was a message saying Ms King had missed a call from an associate of Mr Brady who has been named as a suspect in the robbery. One minute after that there was a missed call message from Brades2.

One of the deleted messages was from Ms King saying that she was awake, and there was an exchange regarding whether Mr Brady had been calling Ms King on his friend’s phone.

At 11.04pm Brades2 texted Ms King to say: “I don’t mind, I would like to see you if you want like.” There was no further phone contact between the phones until 3.37am, when Mr Brady texted Ms King to say he was back in his friend’s house. He added: “Thanks for letting me call over even though I know you didn’t want to see me.”

Ms King told him he had left his phone behind and he said he would pick it up the next day.

Sgt Coughlan also described seven contacts in Ms King’s phone that were created on January 13th, 2013, and modified on January 26th in the early hours of the morning. These included Aaron Brady and his associate who has been named as a suspect for the robbery at Lordship.

The trial continues in front of Judge Michael White and a jury of eight men and seven women.