The main witness in the case of a man on trial for murder, hijacking and assault has told the jury that he broke his silence on the events, because he wanted the victim's family to “know what he knew”.
Daniel Mulholland (aged 23), was in his third day of evidence in the trial of Angelo O'Riordan, who denies murdering Aidan Myers on December 13, 2006.
The 23-year-old of Point Road, Bellurgan in Dundalk, has also pleaded not guilty to assaulting a man in Dundalk town, and to hijacking a Mitsubishi space-wagon on December 12.
It's the prosecution's case that about twenty minutes after these events, 37-year-old Mr Myers was dragged from the car he was traveling in at Faughart outside Dundalk town, attacked and then run over as he lay on the ground injured.
It says that O'Riordan was involved in a common design with a number of other men when they allegedly rammed Mr Myers car, attacked him with a machete and then caused a car to drive over him.
Mr Mullholland has told the jury of an alleged “confession” during which O'Riordan told him he was out hijacking cars on the night of December 12, when something went wrong and he ended up driving over a man.
The witness said O'Riordan described how he could hear the man screaming, but he just kept on going. He said his brother had gone to Drogheda to burn out the car.
Mr Mulhollland said that his friend was pale and physically shaky during their conversation and asked if he could stay with him for a while. The witness said he refused and had no more contact with O'Riordan.
Under cross-examination by counsel for the defence, Mr Padraig Dwyer SC, Mr Mulholland repeatedly denied that he had fabricated this story.
He said it wasn't true that he only told Gardaí about the conversation after they accused him of involvement in the incident, and said he was at risk of being charged with murder.
Mr Dwyer asked the witness why he said nothing in his first interview with Gardaí, and then changed and told them about this conversation with O'Riordan during the course of his later interviews.
Mr Mulholland said that he had been afraid to tell the Gardaí at first, but he “broke” and wanted to tell the truth.
“I had to let it all out...the man died for no reason. I just wanted the Myers family to know what I knew...I wasn't telling lies, I was afraid,” he said.
However earlier on in his cross-examination, Mr Mulholland said that O'Riordan had never threatened him in any way.
When the cross-examination was completed, senior counsel for the prosecution, Ms Pauline Walley SC, asked the witness why he had given evidence.
“Why have you come to the court to give evidence? It has been put to you that you are telling lies, that your account is self-serving...that you were accused of involvement,” Ms Walley asked.
“ I came for the Myers family. Their son was killed and he shouldn't have been killed. I just wanted them to know what I knew,” the witness said.
The jury was also shown video recordings of Mr Mulholland's interviews with Gardaí, during which he repeatedly denied that he himself was present at the scene, and had used a machete.
It was put to Mr Mulholland that another witness said he was in the back of a car at the scene on the night. Mr Mulholland replied that he was “definitely not there”.
The case resumes in the morning before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy.