Kieran Gallagher, a friend of Mr O’Reilly’s through softball, told the Central Criminal Court that the accused discussed his marital problems when they had lunch together a couple of months before the murder.
“Joe discussed that they were having problems and he wanted to tell me first, that he didn’t want me to hear it from anybody else, that they were having counselling,” he said.
“There was something to do with Rachel being snappy with the children and social welfare [sic] were called.” Mr Gallagher said he did not know who had reported Rachel to social services.
Mr Gallagher, who works in AIB Capital Markets and was a member of the Loan Homers Krusty softball team, also revealed that he was due to meet Mr O’Reilly for lunch at 2pm in the Clarion Hotel on Burgh Quay in Dublin on the day Rachel was murdered and Mr O’Reilly emailed him that morning to confirm the arrangement.
However, Mr Gallagher was off work that day because his daughter was sick and he texted Mr O’Reilly between 9am and 10am to cancel.
The court also heard evidence of the efforts by forensics experts to glean clues from the murder scene. Detective Garda Shane Henry, of the Garda ballistics section, gave evidence of finding an as yet unidentified footprint at the house. It did not match some 17 pairs of shoes from people known to have been in the house, as well as four pairs of firemen’s boots.
Det Garda Henry was asked in cross examination to comment on a pair of men’s trousers taken damp from the washing machine in the O’Reilly home after the murder. He accepted that there were some crusty stains on the garment, describing them as being like a “white powdery substance” which threw doubt over whether they had been washed.
He said it was possible they had been put in with wet clothes and soaked up some of the moisture.
Another expert, Dr Louise McKenna of the State Forensic Science Laboratory, gave evidence of finding a blood stain on a right boot belonging to Mr O’Reilly but she could not say how old the stain was.
Her colleague, forensic scientist Dr Linda Williams, said she was able to build a DNA profile from the stain that matched that of Rachel O’Reilly. She was also given a black glove found at the scene, but she could not build a clear DNA profile because there was DNA from several sources mixed up in it.
At the conclusion of the day’s evidence, presiding Judge Mr Justice Barry White sent the jury in the trial home until Friday to allow for legal argument between the prosecution and defence.