Court hears evidence of attempted hijackings prior to murder

The Central Criminal Court has heard evidence of a series of attempted hijackings and a serious assault in Dundalk town, in the minutes leading up to the alleged murder of Aidan Myers in 2006.

A key witnesses in the murder trial of Angelo O'Riordan, described how he was attacked with a 3-foot long blade after his car was hijacked, on the night that Mr Myers was allegedly attacked with a machete and run over.

Wayne Rutherford also told the court how a man who hijacked his car, reversed it at speed towards his girlfriend who had come on the scene, and pinned her against another car.

It is the prosecution's case that these events, characterised by “randomnessand violence” took place 20 minutes before Mr Myers (aged 37), was dragged from his car at St Brigid's shrine in Faughart outside Dundalk.

Senior prosecuting lawyer, Ms Pauline Walley SC, is arguing that O'Riordan was acting in concert with a number of men and was involved in a common design when he took part in these events, and allegedly hijacked and attacked Mr Myers.

The 23-year-old, of Point Road, Bellurgan in Dundalk, has denied the murder on December 13, 2006.

He has also pleaded not guilty to assaulting Wayne Rutherford and to hijacking a Mitsubishi space-wagon in Dundalk town on December 12.

In his evidence, Mr Rutherford said he heard a commotion outside his window at around 11pm that night, and when he went outside, saw a man trying to drive off in his white Mazda.

He said another dark-coloured car with a number of men inside was parked up on the road.

Mr Rutherford screamed at the man in his car and gave chase, kicking the car in an attempt to stop it.

He said his girlfriend then ran out of the house and after the car, but it stopped and reversed at speed towards her, jerking her backwards and pinning her against another car.

Mr Rutherford said he thought she was dead and went to go to her assistance, when another man came out of the dark-coloured car and towards him, holding what he thought at the time was a long stick.

The witness said he went to grab the stick, but realised it was a blade after he looked down and saw blood and a chunk of his arm hanging off.

The wound required 45 stitches.

Mr Rutherford said the car then drove away from his girlfriend who was unharmed, and he screamed at her to run inside the house.

Another key witness, Eileen McCourt, told the court that she drove on to Mary St that night after picking up her son in a Mitsubishi space-wagon.

She saw a commotion on the street and told her son to run from the car. But as they ran away, she said a man from a dark-coloured car pursuing them, shouting at her to give him their car keys.

Mrs McCourt said he caught up with them and grabbed the keys from her.

She ran after him pleading with him not to take her car, but he got into the driver's seat and drove it off at speed.

She said she was terrified.

It is the prosecution's case that the Mitsubishi space wagon was then driven to Faughart where it came across the red Astra in which Mr Myers was a passenger.

After he was lying on the ground injured, the prosecution says O'Riordan got into the Mitsubishi and rammed the Astra, causing it to move forward and run over Mr Myers.

He died in hospital around five hours later.

The case resumes on Thursday morning before the jury of six men and six women.

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