Court hears how murder accused was cheering when body of deceased ‘thrown into river’

Court hears how murder accused was cheering when body of deceased ‘thrown into river’

The man accused of murdering a Cork man in Bandon seven years ago was described by neighbours as howling like a dog and cheering after the body of the deceased was thrown in the river.

Neighbours of the accused described what they saw and heard from their apartment on the night the body of a 27-year-old man was found in the river seven years ago.

Ciprian Grozavu, 44, went on trial before Ms Justice Tara Burns and a jury at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork after pleading not guilty to the charge of murder of Jonathan Duke at Bridge House, Sean Hales Place, Bandon, Co Cork, on November 13, 2011.

Aaron Nolan and Shane O’Driscoll, who were in a relationship at the time, were in the apartment downstairs from the man they knew as Chippy. They also knew Catherine O’Connor from Kinsale, who used to stay with Chippy. The jury was told O’Connor was previously convicted of murdering Mr Duke.

Mr Nolan and Mr O’Driscoll were watching a DVD, possibly of Matilda, on that Sunday night. Mr Nolan testified: “I could hear stuff upstairs, music and stuff from Chippy’s, music and banging and stuff from upstairs. After a while I could hear a scuffle like they were fighting. I kind of knew something was wrong.

“I heard thumping down the stairs… It was as if they were bringing down a bin, banging down the stairs from Chippy’s. I went to the kitchen window. I knocked the light off. I wanted to see what they were doing. We were looking out the window. Chippy and Catherine — he had the top part, she had the legs, and they literally threw him over the yoke, the railings. I was just horrified. When they came back in they were shouting and cheering like an animal.”

Asked by prosecution senior counsel Tim O’Leary who was making that noise, the witness replied: “Chippy. I could hear him doing it. I know his voice a mile away.”

Mr Nolan said that when he and Mr O’Driscoll left the building there was blood on the stairs and it was horrible.

Mr O’Driscoll testified that there was a racket coming from upstairs that night. “I heard a conversation between Chippy and (Catherine O’Connor and her saying) ‘throw him. He is f***ing dead anyway…’ They threw his body down the stairs.”

Asked how loud it was, he replied: “Loud enough, it is not every day you hear a body being thrown down the stairs, like.

“Me being nosy, I went to see what was going on. I saw both Catherine and Chippy lift that body over the railing. 100% it was Jonathan Duke. I knew the runners on his feet and what he was wearing. They lifted the body and threw it in over that.

“After that when they achieved what they wanted to achieve or whatever they want to call it I heard parties screaming and roaring like they were proud of what they did, like they had no remorse, being fair about it… Howling like a dog, that is exactly what he was doing.

“I saw blood all over the place. I felt like I was dreaming, being honest,” testified Mr O’Driscoll.

The case continues.

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