An Offaly man “solicited” another man to kill a man he “blamed” for the drowning of his son, the Central Criminal Court heard today.
Eamon Tuohy, of Derrycooley, Rahan, Co Offaly has pleaded not guilty to soliciting David Coleman to murder Joe Gallagher Junior on a date unknown between May 1, 2004, and September 30, 2004, in Navan, Co Meath.
It is the prosecution’s case that Mr Tuohy “blamed” a number of people for the drowning of his son, including Mr Gallagher, and that he solicited Mr Coleman to murder Mr Gallagher.
Today, David Coleman, a fisherman, told prosecution counsel John Kelly SC that, sometime during the summer of 2004, he was in Brady’s pub in Navan, Co Meath with his cousin, Oliver Coleman.
He said that Oliver received a phonecall, passed the phone to him and said that Ambrose Davis was on the line.
Mr Davis told Mr Coleman that Mr Tuohy wanted to contact him and that, a few days later, again in Brady’s, Oliver Coleman’s phone rang and Oliver passed him the phone.
“There was someone on the other end, said they were Eamon Tuohy. He said, ‘You should know me’.”
Earlier, the court heard that Mr Coleman and Mr Tuohy went to the same school.
Mr Coleman told the jury that Mr Tuohy said he wanted to meet the following evening at 8.15pm in Brady’s.
He that he was in Brady’s the following evening when the phone rang and Mr Tuohy said he was outside.
Mr Coleman went outside, looked around and saw a man getting out of a car.
“I didn’t recognise him... We went inside. He said his son was murdered and that his other son found the body in the river... He was very upset. He mentioned three lads.
“He mentioned Joe Gallagher. He was very upset. He said: 'Could you get me a few lads to go down and sort him out, I’d like to see them get a good going over, a good hiding'.”
“He talked about his son being murdered. He was nearly in tears at this stage. He said if you could help me to get somebody to go down, I don’t care if he gets broken up or in a wheelchair or shot.
“He said there was five thousand pound for whoever would go down and sort it out.
“He said he didn’t care, once they were sorted out properly, that there was no need to bring a gun, that he would provide all that.”
Mr Coleman told the court that Mr Tuohy said he would meet him the following evening.
“I wouldn’t turn up. I never spoke to that man since,” Mr Coleman said.
During cross-examination, Mr Coleman told defence counsel Martin Giblin SC that, up until the alleged incident, he had seen neither Eamon Tuohy nor Joe Gallagher Senior for “forty years.”
He said that he did not tell gardaí about the alleged incident until two years later because he was “never asked.”
“After the meeting in the pub, I mulled it over in my mind what to do. I told Oliver Coleman to tell John Gallagher Snr to warn him that his son could be in danger.”
“When my cousin [Oliver Coleman] explained to Joe Gallagher about that, Joe Gallagher approached me... He said, probably the guards will want to see you.”
Mr Coleman told Mr Giblin that he did not say anything to Mr Tuohy in Brady’s pub.
Oliver Coleman told Mr Giblin that he met his cousin David about a month after the alleged incident in Brady’s.
“He told me that Mr Tuohy was f**king dangerous, he said he wanted someone to do Joe Gallagher Jnr. And five grand, I believe, was mentioned. And then he says, put him in a wheelchair, that’ll do.
“David Coleman and me agreed that Joe Gallagher Snr had to be told. I reckoned David Coleman told him but when I came back [from a trip to England], I found out that Joe Gallagher hadn’t been told.”
Oliver told the jury that, one day, after having returned from England, he was going through old fishery records when he found Joe Gallagher Snr’s mobile phone number. He said that he called him and told him of the alleged incident.
Mr Giblin asked Oliver if David told him whether or not he had said anything to Mr Tuohy in Brady’s.
“I’m not quite sure but I think he told him to f**k off,” he said.
He also said: “Last Monday morning for the first time I saw a young fella walking around who’d be in a grave if it wasn’t for me... I reckon I saved a young man’s life.”
The trial continues.