Two accused were on the run, jury told

THE man and woman on trial in Cork for murder had been on the run for a few days before gardaí found them in Tralee, Cork Circuit Criminal Court was told yesterday.

Gillian Purcell, aged 34, of Simon, Anderson’s Quay, Cork, and formerly of Hollyhill, Cork, and John Walsh, aged 45, originally from Ballinlough, Cork, and more recently of Cork Street, Mitchelstown, both deny murdering John McManus between October 28 and November 7, 2008, at Flat 1, 3 Verdon Place, Wellington Road, Cork.

Patricia Onwuka, of Shanakill, Tralee, Co Kerry, testified that her friend Gillian Purcell and John Walsh called to her home on the night of November 5, 2008.

They talked until 4.30am and Ms Onwuka went back down to them in the sitting room at about 6.30am.

She said there was a lot of roaring going on between the two and she asked them to leave before her children got up.

Ms Onwuka said Purcell told her: “John had been in trouble and they had been on the run for a few days.”

Cross-examining, Tim O’Leary SC, defending Purcell, said Ms Onwuka had said in her statement: “When they spoke about being on the run, (they were) on the run for eight days, John had charges against him in Cork for robbing a shop.”

Another witness, Marcella Gallagher from the Shanakill estate in Tralee, said Purcell and Walsh, called to her house on November 5. Purcell returned alone on November 6 and cried the whole time she was there on the second occasion.

“She was crying her eyes out, saying John had been arrested and they think he is after murdering someone. You could say she was in a state of shock,” Ms Gallagher said.

Ms Gallagher said that when Purcell called that night, she (Purcell) asked Ms Gallagher had she any gear, and the witness explained that this was a reference to the drug heroin. Ms Gallagher said Walsh and Purcell smoked heroin at her house the previous night.

Gary O’Brien of Balloonagh, Tralee, said Purcell and Walsh wanted him to drive them to Cork on November 6 and he was willing to do so because they said it was an emergency, and their car had broken down.

“But the guards arrived. John went out the back door. Gillian went upstairs. The guards went away with John,” Mr O’Brien said.

Evidence was also given about a large shovel and a small garden fork being sold to a man at Dublin Providers, Kinsale Road, Cork, on November 5, 2008. The shovel seized from the car driven by John Walsh on a country road near Ballyduff in Kerry, where the body of the deceased was found in a boggy field, was shown to Margo Woods, of Dublin Providers. She identified it as the shovel sold at the store.

Garda Shane Walsh examined CCTV from properties neighbouring Dublin Providers and identified “a dark-coloured Opel Astra similar to that used by John Walsh”.

Walsh’s barrister, Vincent Heneghan, asked: “How many dark-coloured Opel Astras are there in Cork?” Garda Walsh replied: “I am not aware.”

The case continues before Mr Justice Paul Carney and a jury today.


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