The 30-year-old man accused of murdering a 64-year-old whose dismembered body was found in a garden in Cork approached one of the gardaí at the crime scene and also asked an RTÉ cameraman questions about the case.
The murder trial before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of eight women and four men at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork will go into its tenth day on Friday.
Ionut Cosmin Nicholescu, 30, with an address at Branistea Village, Damovita County, Romania is on trial charged with the murder of Francis (Frankie) Dunne between Friday, December 27, and Saturday, December 28, 2019, at Castlegreine House, Boreenmanna Road, Cork.
On that Sunday, December 29, RTÉ cameraman Martin Cronin testified that he was at the scene from around 8.30am.
Mr Cronin said: “Gardaí were doing house to house, and scenes of crime were arriving from Dublin. I was taking some news shots of the location of the house. Scenes of crime arrived and I started to film their arrival.
“There was a garda protecting the scene and he had a book in his hand. A male approached. He moved along the road to me.
“The only thing that sticks out in my mind is that he asked the guard a few questions but the guard did not want to speak with him. He said that in his country you would not cross the police.”
Ray Boland, prosecution senior counsel, asked if the man said what country? Mr Cronin replied: “No. Definitely not Ireland. He was sallow-skinned and definitely foreign. He had a kind of rucksack. He continuously kept trying to engage in conversation.”
The cameraman said he was trying to concentrate on his work and did not want to talk to him.
Mr Cronin did not identify the man who approached the garda and then approached him.
Ionut Cosmin Nicholescu gave a statement to Bucharest police — in the presence of investigating gardaí from Cork — and this was read to the jury in the trial.
He described seeing garda cars and officers at the derelict house on Boreenmanna Road and commented: “I went to see if what happened to me was actually real. I asked a policeman what happened. He said there was a body there. A person from a TV station — I spoke to that person. He might have got me on camera. He aimed the camera at me.”
The jury also heard from Sergeant Ger Falvey in relation to 264 questionnaires that were filled in by motorists and residents, and supplied to gardaí for their investigation — 231 were taken from residents in house to house calls to 114 properties in the area, and 33 were taken from people travelling in cars passing the area at the relevant time.
Defence senior counsel Philipp Rahn referred to comments made by one resident of the area in relation to the abandoned Castlegreine House property: “I would have seen people going in and I presumed it was a walkway because lots of people would go in.” Another witness said: “Lots of men in their forties used it for drinking.”
Mr Rahn SC said that another woman in the area “saw young people hopping over the wall with cans of beer”.
The case continues.