Garda Adrian Donohoe murder trial hears high-earning suspect has no reason to be involved in robberies

Garda Adrian Donohoe murder trial hears high-earning suspect has no reason to be involved in robberies
Aaron Brady (pictured) told the court today that his former friend, known as Suspect A because his name can't be published, owned his own house aged 18 and runs a successful business in America. Photo: Collins Courts

The man accused of murdering Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe during an armed raid on a credit union has said one of the named suspects for the crime is a wealthy man earning a six-figure sum who would have no reason to be involved in robberies.

Aaron Brady (aged 29) also told the Central Criminal Court it was "ridiculous" to suggest that a call to gardaí from that suspect's home five nights before the robbery was made to test garda response times.

On his second day of cross-examination Mr Brady told Brendan Grehan SC for the prosecution that his former friend, known as Suspect A because his name can't be published, owned his own house aged 18 and runs a successful business in America.

He denied that he, Aaron Brady, and Suspect A stole a Volkswagen Passat on January 23, 2013, that the prosecution alleges was used in the robbery and was found burnt out on Cumson's Lane in south Armagh. He said he couldn't remember where he was the night the car was stolen but was sure he did not steal the Volkswagen. 

The accused also said he couldn't remember having a conversation with his former girlfriend Jessica King about another similar car robbery. Ms King has previously given evidence that she was told Mr Brady was involved in stealing a car and when she confronted him about it he told her that it was Suspect A who stole the car. 

In the witness box today, Mr Brady said he couldn't remember having that conversation with Ms King. He accepted that Ms King had said it but insisted he would never have said that Suspect A was involved in stealing a car.

He added: "I wouldn't be saying [Suspect A] was stealing cars. 

He has owned his own house since he was 18 years old and is working in America making a six-figure sum. [Suspect A] is a wealthy man. What would he be doing robbing cars or getting involved in armed robberies? 

When asked why his lawyers had not challenged Ms King's evidence he said that if he couldn't remember the conversation he couldn't challenge her evidence.

During more than three hours of cross-examination, Mr Brady denied that he was involved in anything more serious than diesel laundering and insisted he did not tell Suspect A or another friend to lie for him about his whereabouts at the time of the robbery. 

He also denied that he was providing an alibi for Suspect A when he lied to gardaí about going with Suspect A to a friend's house close to the time of the robbery. He accepted that he lied to gardaí about his movements on the night but said he only did so to cover up his involvement in diesel laundering.

Aaron Brady (aged 29) from New Road, Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh, has pleaded not guilty to the capital murder of Det Gda Adrian Donohoe who was then a member of An Garda Siochana on active duty on January 25, 2013, at Lordship Credit Union, Bellurgan, Co Louth. Mr Brady has also pleaded not guilty to a charge of robbing approximately €7,000 in cash and assorted cheques on the same date and at the same location.

Diesel laundering

Mr Grehan asked the accused about a statement he gave to gardaí on February 5 and 6, 2013. Mr Brady accepted that gardaí made it clear to him that they only wanted the truth. 

He told them that Suspect A brought him to a yard on Concession Road in south Armagh at about 8pm where he was to load cubes of waste produced during the diesel laundering process onto a truck. He told gardaí that he couldn't get the forklift started and so left after about 15 minutes and went to a friend's house on nearby Lough Road. 

He told Mr Grehan that this was a lie and that, in fact, he had been able to start the forklift and spent 90 minutes loading the trailer. He didn't tell gardaí, he said, because he didn't want to implicate himself in a crime. 

When Mr Grehan put it to him that attempting to launder diesel is in itself a crime, he replied: "Trying to start a forklift is not a crime. Loading a trailer is a crime."

He said he initially didn't want to tell gardaí anything about the diesel laundering site but his solicitor advised him to tell the truth.

Mr Brady accepted that he was in Suspect A's house five nights before the robbery when gardaí were called to the house. Mr Brady said he was in bed but awoke when he heard a noise and looked outside and thought someone was in the yard where a lot of expensive equipment was kept. 

He told Suspect A's brother who decided to call the gardaí. Mr Grehan put it to him that when gardaí called they found no evidence of an intruder and despite heavy dew on the grass they saw no footprints. 

Mr Grehan suggested they had called gardaí to see how long it would take them to get to Suspect A's house, which is close to Lordship Credit Union. Mr Brady responded: "Absolutely not Mr Grehan. That is ridiculous."

Counsel asked about a claim Mr Brady made previously that Inspector John Moroney had lied when he told the trial that Mr Brady claimed to have no knowledge of Det. Gda Donohoe's shooting when questioned about it the day afterwards. 

Mr Brady said he doesn't know if Insp. Moroney's testimony was given out of "malice" or by mistake but insisted it would be "ridiculous" for him to say that he didn't know about the shooting when the area where he was staying was filled with gardaí. He accepted that his lawyers had not challenged Inspector Moroney's evidence.

Mr Grehan will continue cross-examining the accused tomorrow in front of Mr Justice Michael White and a jury of six men and seven women.

More in this section

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox