Court hears disposed chainsaw was stained and had meat on it which looked like dog meat

Court hears disposed chainsaw was stained and had meat on it which looked like dog meat
Kenneth O'Brien.

A man accused of impeding the investigation into the murder of Kenneth O'Brien told gardaí that the chainsaw he disposed of was stained and had a piece of brown meat on it, which he said looked like dog meat.

The murderer's son said he was giving a voluntary statement to gardaí because he wanted the O'Brien family to get justice and it was "barbaric" they would have to bury him in pieces.

The father-of-one also said he did not know the chainsaw had been used to dismember the victim's body when he threw the device into the canal.

The Central Criminal Court also heard today that Mr O'Brien, whose dismembered remains were found in a suitcase in the Grand Canal, died from a gun shot wound to the head. Evidence has been given that the accused's father, Paul Wells Snr, shot Mr O'Brien in his back garden before dismembering the victim's body with a chainsaw and dumping it.

The jury was listening to garda interviews today in the trial of Paul Wells Junior (aged 33), who is charged with impeding the apprehension or prosecution of his father Paul Wells Senior (aged 51) nearly four years ago.

Detective Sergeant Padraig Cleary told prosecution counsel Michael Bowman SC that Mr Wells Jnr wanted to speak to gardaí in relation to the murder of Mr O'Brien so they arranged to meet him at Leixlip Garda Station on February 5, 2016.

Mr Wells Jnr told gardaí in his voluntary statement that his father had constantly beaten him growing up but when Wells Snr went for the other kids, the accused would not let him. The accused said he was in the garda station that day because he couldn't "take it in his head anymore".

He said Wells Snr could not put up with anyone standing up to him and called him "physical and fearful".

Wells Snr had asked the accused around this time if he knew of any dark places with no cameras, he said.

Wells Jnr said he met his father in the car park of Tesco in Celbridge on January 16 and they went for a drive. "He was really on edge and kept constantly looking over his shoulder.

I thought I was going to be shot or hurt about something.

"His legs were shaking when he was driving," he continued.

The accused said he heard four splashes when Wells Snr got out of the car beside the canal and felt in danger because of how well his father knew the roads.

The accused said he had thrown the motor of a chainsaw, which smelt strongly of bleach, into the canal opposite Carton House in Maynooth.

"When Gary [the accused's brother] gave me that bag, he said Da said to give you this......I stood outside Carton House considering what to do.....I knew he [Wells Snr] would have no problem getting me killed," explained Mr Wells Jnr, adding that he regretted throwing it into the canal straight away.

"I didn't want to hinder the investigation. I didn't know it was used for this," he told gardaí, adding that he was just "putting the jigsaw together".

Mr Wells Jnr said he nearly dropped to his knees when he heard on the news that the body of Mr O'Brien had been found. "I'm here as I genuinely want that family [O'Brien's] to get justice," he told gardaí.

It's barbaric and disgusting that his family will have to bury him in pieces

A stag party was arranged for Mr Wells Jnr and everyone travelled to Latvia on January 22, the court has heard. The accused said his father kept getting his other son to look up RTE news on the plane to see what was being said about Mr O'Brien.

The accused said his father made sounds and imitated the motions of a chainsaw one night on the stag. "I thought it was very inappropriate," said the accused.

The accused said he asked his father to hand himself into gardaí but Wells Snr said it wouldn't be long until they got him for the murder of Mr O'Brien. "He tried to say sorry for what he had done but said he had no choice," said Mr Wells Jnr.

In relation to the chainsaw, the accused said he could see staining and a piece of brown meat on it, which he thought was dog meat.

"I genuinely didn't try to hinder the investigation. I thought my dad was trying to set me up and I just panicked," he told gardaí.

In cross-examination, Det. Sgt Padraig Cleary agreed with defence counsel Damien Counsel SC that it was quite obvious the accused was troubled in the garda station.

Following his voluntary interview, Mr Wells Jnr was arrested on February 6 on suspicion of murdering Mr O'Brien with a firearm. He told gardaí that he knew about about the death of Mr O'Brien from what was on the news and then from the strange behaviour of his father.

Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis told Mr Bowman that he carried out a post-mortem on the deceased and it appeared that the dismemberment of Mr O'Brien had been done with "a high-speed mechanical saw".

He testified that a Tesco carrier bag contained the skull and two bricks. The head had appeared to contain metallic fragments.

He found a bullet entrance wound on the back of the head. He explained that gas from the discharge had entered the tissue and had caused the skull to balloon outwards.

The brain had been extremely traumatised and the skull bones were extensively shattered, he said. He concluded that Mr O'Brien's death had been caused by a gun shot wound to the head.

Mr Wells Junior, with an address at Beatty Park, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, has pleaded not guilty to disposing of a chainsaw motor at a time unknown between January 19 and 20, 2016 in Co. Kildare and not guilty to disposing of a chainsaw blade and chain on January 20, 2016 in the same location.

Paul Wells Senior, of Barnamore Park, Finglas in Dublin 11 was jailed for life last year having been found guilty of murdering Kenneth O'Brien at his home in Finglas on January 15 or 16, 2016.

The prosecution has alleged that the accused, who endured a "life of hardship" under his father, dumped parts of the chainsaw in The Curragh, knowing at the time that his father had taken a life.

The trial resumes tomorrow before Ms Justice Carmel Stewart and a jury of six men and six women.

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