A Dublin man accused of a double murder in the city two years ago told gardaí that they had put him under pressure to confess to the crime.
Gary Howard (aged 24), with an address at Emerald Street, Dublin 1, has pleaded not guilty to shooting dead Patrick Mooney (aged 58) and Brendan Molyneaux (aged 46) at Pearse House on January 10, 2010.
A few hours after their bodies were found at Mr Mooney’s city centre flat, Gary Howard was arrested by gardaí who forced their way into his girlfriend’s house in Finglas.
Gary Howard’s trial at Central Criminal Court has heard evidence that he initially denied carrying out the murders, then admitted it, then denied it again, accusing gardaí of putting him “through torture”.
The jury heard extracts of interviews recorded on video tape between Gary Howard and rotating pairs of gardaí over the course of his five-day detention at Kevin Street Garda Station.
Detective Garda Sargeant Paul Tallon told Mr Brendan Grehan SC, prosecuting, that the accused claimed on the third day of his detention that his earlier confession has been “all lies” and that he
had said what gardaí wanted because he was “under too much pressure” from them.
The jury heard that Gary Howard said admitting to the crime was “the only way” he could get to see his mother, grandmother and his children, or get his pregnant girlfriend released from garda custody.
The court was told that Gary Howard accused the gardaí of putting pressure on him off-camera, between interviews, during breaks for cigarettes or exercise out in the yard and on the way to the cell.
“You wouldn’t be treated the way I was in Guantanamo, the terrorist prison where the Taliban go,” Mr Howard said in interviews, claiming some gardaí had said “horrible things” to him at the hatch in his
cell, and that it had been like scenes from the film ‘In the Name of the Father’”.
“Unfortunately the judge and jury only get to see what’s on camera,” Gary Howard told Detective Garda Sergeant Paul Tallon, claiming that as far as certain gardaí were concerned, “I’m the scumbag that has no human rights.”
In an earlier interview on the same day, Gary Howard was shown a witness statement made by his uncle Thomas Nalty, who had been present at the scene of the shootings.
Detective Sargeant Adrian Whitelaw told the court that Gary Howard claimed his uncle’s statement was “all lies” because Gary had stolen €1,000 from his Mr Nalty’s bank account the previous week.
Gary Howard then requested a break in the interview in order to consult his solicitor and see his mother.
Detective Sargeant Adrian Whitelaw told the court that when the interview resumed a short time later, Gary Howard confessed to the killings, saying he had been threatened with a gun put in his mouth and then pointed at his child.
Gary Howard told gardaí that Brendan Molyneaux was “an IRA head” and that “he knew the Provos were after him”.
In subsequent interviews Gary Howard again denied carrying out the shootings and retracted earlier statements, claiming he had been “under duress”.
When asked by gardaí about the possibility of finding gun powder residue on his hands after the double shooting, Gary Howard said the last time he had fired a gun was when he had shot his horse two days before the murders because his horse’s legs were broken.