A trial of two men accused of a double murder in Limerick has heard today that a brother of one of the accused told gardaí he saw “a gun pointed down towards the ground” in the back seat of a car he and the two accused were travelling in.
Patrick Stewart (27) also told gardaí he heard one of the accused saying he had thought he had dropped a cartridge in the car.
Mr Brendan Grehan, SC, prosecuting, read out to the jury the initial statement Mr Stewart made to gardaí on January 15, 2011, six days after the double shooting in O'Malley Park, Limerick in which two people were killed.
But, in his direct evidence in court, Mr Stewart denied he saw a gun but saw what he thought was an iron bar.
It was day nine of the trial at the Central Criminal Court of first cousins Patrick O'Brien (aged 33) of Glanntan, Golflinks Road, Castletroy, Limerick and Thomas Stewart (aged 29) of The Cedar, Briarfield, Castletroy, Limerick who have both pleaded not guilty to the murders of Desmond Kelly (aged 23) and Breda Waters (aged 28) on January 9, 2011 at O'Malley Park in Limerick.
Mr Stewart said in his statement he was to go fishing with his cousin Ian O'Leary on the morning of the double shooting but that the two accused had asked Mr O'Leary to give them a lift to Roxboro first.
“Patrick O'Brien told Ian where to stop outside a house and both Patrick and Thomas got out of the car and went into a house. They said they would be two minutes,” Mr Stewart told gardaí in his statement.
“They then got back into the car and asked Ian to drive them to Southhill. Ian said he wouldn't go to Southill but he pulled in near the area,” continued Mr Stewart.
“I kinda looked back at them in the back seat and saw an inch or two of what looked like an iron bar sticking out of Patrick O'Brien's coat,” he said.
“The gun was pointing out towards the ground and they were both mumbling and whispering,” his statement continued.
“It was then I heard Patrick saying he thought he had dropped a cartridge in the car and I thought then it was a gun.”
Mr Stewart said he and Mr O'Leary went back to his home and searched the car for the cartridge but did not locate it. They went fishing near the back entrance of the University of Limerick before he received a phone call later in the morning to say someone had been shot in Southill.
When Mr Stewart was called to give evidence he told defence counsel for O'Brien, Mr Sean Gillane, SC, he had “more than a bit to drink” the night before the shootings.
He agreed with Mr Gillane that his “memory was affected by alcohol” when he gave the initial statement to gardaí.
He also agreed that what he had said to gardaí was that he saw what “looked like an iron bar” and agreed that that was what he was saying in evidence in court.
He told Mr Grehan that, at the time of making the initial statement to gardaí he “wasn't feeling himself” and “felt under pressure” as his mother had been taken to hospital and he was worried about his then pregnant girlfriend.
“At the time I would have done anything to get out (of the garda station),” he told Mr Grehan.
“I am 100% sure I said iron bar to gardaí,” he added.
The trial continues before Mr Justice George Birmingham and a jury of six men and six women.