Witness tells murder trial she heard ‘crunching of bones’ as car drove over man

‘They took their time doing it, there was no hurry,’ Brenda O’Connell tells trial

Paul Bradley (54) and his sons Dean, Jason and Ryan are accused of the murder of Neil Reilly in Lucan, Dublin in  January 2017. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Paul Bradley (54) and his sons Dean, Jason and Ryan are accused of the murder of Neil Reilly in Lucan, Dublin in January 2017. Photograph: Collins Courts.


A witness at a murder trial said she heard bones crunching and the groans of the deceased as he was twice run over by the same car.

Brenda O’Connell was giving evidence in the trial of a garage owner and his three sons who deny murdering a man after he fired shots at their home in the early hours of the morning.

Paul Bradley (54) and his sons Jason (20), Dean (24), and Ryan (18), of Liscarne Gardens, Dublin 22, have all pleaded not guilty to the murder of Neil Reilly (36) at Esker Glebe in Lucan, Dublin on January 18th, 2017.

Ms O’Connell told prosecuting counsel Paul Murray SC she woke up when she heard an altercation and when she looked outside she saw a car in the road with the passenger door open. A black car approached driving slowly and then she heard “crunching of bones” as if the car had driven over a body. The car reversed a short distance, she said, and drove over the body again. She added: “I heard the victim groaning and the crunching of bones.”

The witness said there was “no hurry” in the car reversing and going over the man the second time. “They took their time doing it,” she said.

Colin Dardis was woken up by shouting at around 4am. When he looked outside he saw a man in a jeep, who the defence accepts was Paul Bradley. The witness said Mr Bradley was roaring and shouting in an aggressive tone at the witness’s female neighbour, who was standing on the footpath shouting back.

Mr Dardis then noticed a man staggering in the middle of the road and another man came from the direction of the jeep and appeared to hit the staggering man on the top of the head with something like a piece of wood. The man fell to his knees and Mr Dardis noticed a dark-coloured car started moving, drove towards the man and struck him, knocking him face forward. The car stopped and while the witness couldn’t be 100 per cent sure, he said he recalls that it reversed while the man started to crawl or tried to get up and off the road. The car then started up again and drove over the man.

Mr Dardis said: “I was horrified, terrified, in disbelief. I wasn’t sure, had I seen what I had seen?”

Defence counsel Matthias Kelly SC said his client, Dean Bradley, was the driver of the dark-coloured car and put it to Mr Dardis that in fact the car drove at speed around the bend and collided with the deceased, went over him and then stopped. The witness disagreed.

Mr Kelly then called optometrist, Margaret Barrett, who said that she examined Dean Bradley on March 28 this year. She said his eyesight was “well below the standard for driving without glasses”. She told Mr Murray that a man kneeling down at a distance could look like a blob to him. Within 20 feet she said he would see it, but it would be blurred.

Laurence Bourke told Mr Murray that on the night Mr Reilly died he was awoken by a loud crashing noise. He peered out his window and saw two people kicking a man who was on the ground. He later saw an SUV leave the area followed immediately by a black BMW.

The trial continues in front of Justice Paul Coffey and a jury of six men and six women.