The trial continues this afternoon before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of six men and six women
A brother and sister have described finding a human torso in the Wicklow mountains while having a picnic, with one of them describing the body part as looking like “a piece of a pig”, a murder trial has heard.
The Central Criminal Court trial of Kieran Greene (34) has heard that the body of 61-year-old grandmother Patricia O’Connor was dismembered into 15 separate parts that were found at nine different locations in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains.
Giving evidence today, Christine Murphy told prosecuting counsel Roisin Lacey SC that she was having a picnic with her family in the Dublin mountains on June 10, 2017.
Ms Murphy agreed with Ms Lacey that they had been on a family drive and visited Sally Gap. Following this, Ms Murphy and her family decided to go to a picnic spot at Old Boley. Her aunt Breda Kenny and her sister-in-law were also with her, she said.
They parked their cars at Old Boley beside Sally Gap at around 6.20pm, where there was a picnic area, she said.
Around 30 minutes later, Ms Murphy testified that she returned to the car with her sister-in-law to get some baby wipes. The witness said she was looking for somewhere to go to the toilet when she “came across something” over the bank at the side of the road.
“I described it as looking like a piece of a pig,” she said, adding that she pointed it out to her sister-in-law. Ms Murphy said she did not go near the item and returned to the picnic spot, where they stayed for another thirty minutes.
When the picnic was finished, Ms Murphy said they all went back to the parked cars and noticed that the window of her brother’s car had been smashed and a handbag was stolen.
Ms Murphy said she saw "the torso" for a second time when she walked up along the bank looking for the stolen handbag. It was in the same position and she called her brother Jonathan over to to look at it, she explained.
The witness said she walked away from the body part and her auntie Breda rang gardai.
Jonathan Murphy, a brother of the previous witness, told Ms Lacey that his father was home from the UK on June 10 so the whole family went for a picnic in a number of cars to the Dublin mountains.
They had their second picnic of the day at Old Boley, which was along the Military Road in Enniskerry, he said. Mr Murphy agreed with Ms Lacey that when they returned to the parked cars that evening, it appeared that someone had broken into one of the car's and a handbag had been taken.
A decision was made to look for the handbag and everyone was looking in ditches to see if it had been thrown in there, he said.
Mr Murphy said his sister Christine was the first to see the body part. “It was an upper torso from the ribs up to the neck and there was one arm longer than the other,” he said.
Mr Murphy said he called his father over and his aunt Breda rang gardai to attend the scene.
Earlier, Detective Sergeant David Conway gave evidence of photographing body parts that were found in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains between June 11 and 14, including a head and hands which were contained in a black plastic bag.
Other remains photographed included a foot, parts of a torso and shoulders. The remains were found at locations including Glencree, Glenmacnass Waterfall, Lough Bray Lower and a grass verge next to a wooded area along the Military Road. On June 14, all remains were identified as belonging to Mrs O’Connor, said Det Sgt Conway.
Later in June and July, the witness testified that he went to the house at Mountainview Park and photographed what he said appeared to be blood-staining on a kitchen wall and an external wall of the house.
Garda Gerard Geanue gave evidence of photographing a shallow grave in a field in Killeagh, Blackwater, Co Wexford on June 14, 2017. He said he photographed a close-up picture of hair and a piece of cloth-like material within the soil of the grave.
Under cross-examination, Gda Genue told Conor Devally SC, for Mr Greene, that he believed it was a barley field and tillage lines from a tractor were visible.
Garda Brian Shiggins gave evidence of being on duty as part of a search team at Dodder Valley Park in Tallaght on January 2, 2018. Two hacksaws and a hatchet were found between the footpath and the south side of the River Dodder along the edge of Dodder Valley Park, he said.
Under cross-examination by Mr Devally, Gda Shiggins agreed that the items were deep within the undergrowth. “There were different levels of thickness,” he replied.
Garda Wayne Farrell told Ms Lacey that he photographed items in Bray Garda Station that had been purchased by gardai. These items included 30 extra strong rubbish bags, two hacksaws, a petrol can, knives, a tow rope, two axes, protection sheets, two pairs of Wellington boots and gloves.
The court heard yesterday that gardai found receipts in the house at Mountainview Park and the deceased’s Toyota Corolla for purchases from DIY stores and ascertained two hacksaws, axes, black sacks, a cover sheet and two pairs of Wellington boots had been bought. As a result, gardai went to the stores to make "controlled purchases" to see what was bought.
The prosecution allege that Mrs O’Connor received a minimum of three blows to the head with a solid implement at her Rathfarnham home before her body was brought in the boot of her Toyota Corolla car to Co Wexford and buried in a shallow grave.
Her remains were later dug up and the body dismembered using hacksaws and a hatchet over the course of three to four hours.
Mr Greene of Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14 has pleaded not (NOT) guilty to murdering Patricia O'Connor at the same address on May 29, 2017.
The deceased's daughter Louise O'Connor (41) and granddaughter Stephanie O'Connor (22), both of Millmount Court, Dundrum Road, Dublin 14, and Louise O'Connor's ex-partner Keith Johnston (43), of Avonbeg Gardens, Tallaght, Dublin 24 are all charged with impeding the apprehension or prosecution of Mr Greene, knowing or believing him to have committed an arrestable offence, to wit the murder of Patricia O'Connor on May 29, 2017.
Louise O'Connor has pleaded not (NOT) guilty to agreeing to or acquiescing in her daughter Stephanie O'Connor disguising herself as Patricia O'Connor at Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14 on May 29, 2017 in order to conceal the fact that Patricia O'Connor was dead.
Mr Johnston has pleaded not (NOT) guilty to assisting Mr Greene in the purchase of various implements at Woodie's, Mr Price, B&Q and Shoe Zone, Tallaght, Dublin 24 on June 9, 2017, which were to be used in the concealment of the remains of Mrs O'Connor.
Mr Johnston also denies engaging in the refurbishment of a bathroom at Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14 between May 31, 2017 and June 9, 2017, in order to destroy or conceal any evidence relating to the murder of Mrs O'Connor.
Stephanie O'Connor has pleaded not (NOT) guilty to disguising herself as Mrs O'Connor at Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14 at a point in time after her murder on May 29, 2017 in order to conceal the fact that she was already dead.
Mrs O'Connor was first reported missing on June 1, 2017 and a number of her body parts, including her head and hands, were discovered dispersed around a 30kms area later that month. The deceased had worked at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin and had retired about a year before she died.
The trial continues this afternoon before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of six men and six women. It is expected to last between five and seven weeks.