Severed toe linked to murder accused

A photograph of a severed toe was sent from a phone attributed to a murder accused the night after he is alleged to have killed an acquaintance, who was found ablaze with his toe amputated.

A jury heard the evidence yesterday in the trial of a 29-year-old homeless man, charged with murdering another homeless man, who had almost €150,000.

The jury also saw CCTV footage, which the State said showed the accused walking towards the scene shortly before the killing. Other footage was shown, which the State said showed the accused lodging and spending money the following day.

The Central Criminal Court has heard that 36-year-old Gerard Donnelly had €8,500 in cash and €140,000 in a bank account weeks before gardaí found his body on fire in the Phoenix Park. The father of one died of blunt force trauma to the head before being set alight and having his little toe amputated.

Ciaran Moran, with an address at Camden Hall, Camden St, Dublin, pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Donnelly at an unknown time during November 28 or 29, 2013.

Detective Garda Eamon O’Brien testified that he found an image of a toe on a Sony Xperia phone that a friend of the accused said he had taken from Mr Moran on November 30. The jury had already seen the photograph.

The detective said the image was in the sent folder of WhatsApp, a mobile application used to send messages. He said it had been created at 10.41pm on November 29 and seemed to have been sent from the phone at that time. He did not have any information on the recipient.

Richard Doyle testified last week that he had taken the Sony phone from the accused to call an ambulance for him on the night of November 30. He said the accused disappeared before he could return the phone to him. He handed it over to gardaí a few days later.

The trial also heard yesterday that gardaí found a Sony Xperia box and a €170 menswear shop receipt dated November 29 under Mr Moran’s bed.

Garda Ciara O’Sullivan said she searched under his bunk in Camden Hostel on December 1 that year.

She found a bag from Penthouse Menswear, which contained a Sony Xperia box and a headphones box. She also found a receipt for €170 from Penthouse in Jervis Shopping Centre from 3.19pm on November 29.

Garda Jennifer Connolly showed the jury a compilation of CCTV footage, which she said depicted Mr Moran’s movements in the days before and after the alleged murder.

Footage from 10.22pm on November 28 showed three people walking past the Criminal Courts of Justice on Parkgate St in the direction of the park. She pointed out the person she believed to be the accused and said the courts’ building was the last building before the park entrance.

She then played footage captured at Mr Moran’s hostel at 9.20am the following day. She pointed out Ciaran Moran. She then played several other clips.

The trial continues today before Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan and a jury.

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