Computer of intended assassin victim was used to search for hitmen

A computer from the business office of a man whose partner is accused hiring a former Las Vegas poker dealer to kill him and his two sons had been used to search for hitmen on the Internet a Central Court Jury has heard.

Ms Sharon Collins (aged 45), with an address at Ballybeg House, Kildysart Road, Ennis and Mr Essam Eid (aged 52), an Egyptian man with a Las Vegas address have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to kill P.J., Robert and Niall Howard between August 1, 2006 and September 26, 2006.

Ms Collins also denies hiring Mr Eid to shoot the three men.

Mr Eid denies demanding €100,000 from Mr Robert Howard to cancel the contracts. He also denies breaking into the Howard family business at Westgate Business Park and stealing two computers, some computer cables, a digital clock and a poster of old Irish money and then handling the stolen items.

Detective Sergeant Michael Gubbins told Ms Una Ni Raifeartaigh, prosecuting, that an Advent desktop computer, stolen from the offices of Downes & Howard, had been used to search for the terms hitman, assassin and contract killer on key dates in August 2006.

On August 2 Det. Sgt Gubbins said that the user of the Advent searched using the term hitman and accessed the site Hitman.us, and receiving an email from killers@hitman.us.

They also searched for information on inheritance rights for both married and cohabiting couple and for information on domestic violence.

They visited the Revenue website and the Government information website looking for inheritance information and also called to Irishwills.com.

Det. Sgt Gubbins said that the user also accessed the registration page for a Yahoo email account and soon after accessed the email account of Lyingeyes98@yahoo.ie.

The computer was also used to access an Eircom email account for Sharon Collins and an email was sent from the Sharon Collins email account to Lyingeyes.

On August 8th the user booked a flight to Malaga in the name of Sharon Collins and accessed the Eircom email account for Ms Collins.

The Lyingeyes email account was logged into seconds after the user logged out of the Sharoncollins account.

He said the user also visited the AIB website several times getting a quote for a personal loan for between €17,000 and €20,000.

They also bought a three month supply of the weight loss drug Reductil from an online pharmacy website in the name of Sharon Collins.

At 10.01pm the user visited a page on the Hitmanforhire.net website which gave details “how to order a contract killing”.

The user kept searching for the terms “assassins for hire, assassination”, revisiting the Hitmanforhire.us site at 10.11 and clicked on the Submit button on the contact page.

On August 16 an email was sent from Lyingeyes to Tony Luciano, a contact from Hitmanforhire.us, and signed with the name “Sharon”.

Det. Sgt Gubbins said he had also examined a Toshiba laptop belonging to Mr Robert Howard, which had also been stolen from the offices of Downes & Howard on September 25th 2006.

He examined the internet usage for the 24 hour period the laptop was missing. He told Ms Ni Raifeartaigh the person using the latop had searched for American baseball scores.

They had also accessed the email accounts of Hire_hitman@yahoo.com; tonyluciano2001@yahoo.com; esssameid@yahoo.com and tengle2005@yahoo.com.

Last week the jury heard from Teresa Engle, one of Mr Eid’s two wives, who said she had travelled with him to Ireland to carry out a contract on Mr Howard.

A second laptop, an Iridium that had been taken from the house Mr Howard shared with Ms Collins was also examined.

Det. Sgt Gubbins said there had been a user profile on the laptop called Sharon but it had been deleted on October 13 2006.

An analysis of the Iridium laptop showed repeated visits to Lyingeyes’ Yahoo account and Sharon Collins’ Eircom account on August 15 and 16.

Lyingeyes email Inbox contained several emails from Tony Luciano. In one dated August 15 he said: “Don’t get mad. When I see you in Malaga if I like you I will kiss you. If I don’t you do it. I just joking”.

The user of the Iridium had also done a search for Luciano Las Vegas.

Det. Sgt Gubbins said he had also performed a key word search on all three computers for the name “Maria Marconi”.

Maria Marconi is the name of the woman Ms Collins says was teaching her to write a novel and had access to all the computers when she visited Ireland around the time of the events.

Det. Sgt Gubbins said he had been unable to find any reference to the name on any of the computers.

The jury also heard from Special Agent Scott Baakkan from the FBI in Las Vegas.

He told Mr Tom O’Connell SC, prosecuting, that he had searched for Maria Marconi in the Las Vegas area but she did not and had never owned a car or a house, had insurance or paid a utility bill in the area.

He said that no one of that name had left the United States between June 1 2006 and October 1 2006.

The trial will continue tomorrow before Mr Justice Roderick Murphy and the jury of eight men and four women.


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