Vehicle linked to Kerry hit-and-run was registered in the accused’s name

A Toyota Land Cruiser suspected of being involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash almost three years ago, was registered in the name of a 22-year-old accused and he also had an insurance policy on the vehicle, a court heard yesterday.

Vehicle linked to Kerry hit-and-run was registered in the accused’s name

The Circuit Criminal Court, in Tralee, Co Kerry, was also told the chassis number on the dark, grey vehicle matched records at Toyota Ireland headquarters in Dublin.

Shane Fitzgerald, of Upper Knockeen, Knockduff, Meelin, Newmarket, Co Cork, denies dangerous driving causing the death of Mr O’Leary, a father of four, at Scrahanfadda, Gneeveguilla, Co Kerry, on July 1, 2012.

On day five of the trial, Ray Moloney, senior technical adviser, Toyota Ireland, said, in a statement that Detective Sergeant Feargal Foley of Bandon, showed him debris from the scene, on February 20, 2013.

He examined the Toyota records system and found a chassis number from the suspected vehicle belonged to a dark grey metallic Land Cruiser with the registration number, 07D24280.

Noel O’Regan of Cork County Council motor taxation department, testified that Shane Fitzgerald was the registered owner of vehicle 07D24280 since December 2011 and it was still registered in his name until February 16, 2015.

Replying to Tom Rice, prosecuting, Neil Brennan of FBD Insurance said the accused was a policy holder in respect of the vehicle.

Forensic scientist Dr John McCullagh of the Forensic Science Laboratory examined several items of debris and concluded that dark grey paint found on the late Mr O’Leary’s hair matched paint from a plastic part found at the scene.

That also supported the view the paint came from the vehicle which struck Mr O’Leary, he added.

Mr O’Leary’s widow Margaret and up to a dozen family members who have been attending the hearings each day were in court yesterday when the buckled bicycle he had been riding was presented. Judge Thomas E O’Donnell told them they were free to leave if they found the showing of the bicycle to the jury distressing. None left.

Garda public service vehicle inspector James O’Brien outlined the damage to what he described as the Scott’s Sportster racing bicycle, which he first saw in drain at the crash scene, on July 1, 2012. It was a 21-speed bicycle, with 28-inch wheels. Both wheels had been deformed and the handlebars twisted out of alignment in a clockwise direction. The right handlebar was bent upwards and the right pedal pad was missing.

Garda O’Brien concluded the deceased had been cycling when struck by the front right corner and driver’s door of a dark grey Toyota Land Cruiser, with the impact on his right side, casting him and his bicycle into an adjacent drain.

The witness also showed the jury stills photographs from CCTV footage which tracked a dark grey Toyota Land Cruiser from outside the High St Bar and SuperValu supermarket, in Newmarket, Co Cork, on the night of June 30/July 1, 2012.

A Land Cruiser later parked at the railway station in Killarney, Kerry, and, at around 5am, was seen reversing out of the carpark and heading east. It was seen a number of times on CCTV footage before it reached O’Keeffe’s shop, at Gattabawn, Gneveguilla, and later passing the Munster Joinery factory and Jones’s Agri Ltd, both near Ballydesmond, Co Cork.

Garda O’Brien also told of visiting the crash scene and of seeing debris there.

There were no skid marks or brake marks, he said. The vehicle has not been found. The trial continues.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.