Murder accused said father-in-law hit victim with crowbar, court hears

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A 34-year-old man accused of murdering his partner’s mother told gardaí his father-in-law hit her on the head with a crowbar.

Kieran Greene told gardaí he agreed to take the blame for the murder and dismemberment of 61-year-old Patricia O’Connor.

But six months after his arrest, he said, he felt he had been set up.

Patricia O’Connor’s daughter, Louise, granddaughter Stephanie, and Stephanie’s father, Keith Johnston, have all pleaded not guilty to impeding the apprehension or prosecution of Mr Greene.

Six months after his arrest for the murder of Patricia O’Connor, whose dismembered body was found in 15 parts in the Wicklow mountains, Mr Greene asked to speak to investigating gardaí.

On 9 December 2017, they interviewed him in a visiting room at Clover Hill Prison.

Mr Greene told them his mother-in-law attacked him in the bathroom of the house at Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham in Dublin, with a hurley at around midnight on 29 May 2017.

He said he asked her why she was doing it, and she said it was her house and she could do what she wanted.

Mr Greene said he hit her about two times and they were struggling. He said she winded him in the stomach and he went down on the ground.

While he was on the ground he heard his father-in-law, Gus O’Connor, come down the stairs.

He said Mr O’Connor asked her what the f*** she was doing.

Mr Greene said Mrs O’Connor swung the hurley at her husband but missed. He said Mr O’Connor had something in his hand – a black bar or crowbar. 

He hit his wife on the head twice and she fell on the bathroom floor. He said Mr O’Connor told him “I’m defending you; you can take the rap for it”.

After that, he said they panicked. He said he brought Mrs O’Connor up to her bedroom. Shortly afterwards, his partner Louise came downstairs.

She told him to get rid of her and he said he did what she said. He brought Mrs O’Connor’s body back downstairs and put her in the boot of the car.

He said he went to Wexford where he buried her in a shallow grave and when he got back Louise was cleaning the bathroom.

After a day or two, he said Louise’s former partner, Keith Johnston, was informed. Mr Greene said he asked him for help as he had never been in this predicament and did not know what to do. 

Mr Johnston said “leave it with me” and a day or two later came back and said he had made a plan.

The jury heard Mr Greene told gardaí the two men went to shops including Mr Price, B&Q and Woodies and bought items including Stanley blades, black bags, a hacksaw and a hatchet.

They headed back to Wexford, dug up Mrs O’Connor and he said Mr Johnston started cutting her up with a saw and putting the body parts in black bags.

Mr Greene said Mr Johnston then brought him up to the Wicklow mountains. He told him to stop and he emptied a bag from the car. He kept doing this for a couple of miles until all the bags were emptied.

Mr Greene said Mr Johnston told him “I know this is on you, brother. I’ve a background in drugs and I can’t get into any more trouble.” He said he agreed to take the blame.

He said Mr Johnston scraped tiles in the bathroom and shower and painted walls as well.

He told gardaí his stepdaughter, Stephanie, pretended to dress up as her grandmother and leave the house with her clothes in a suitcase.

Mr Greene said he wanted to get all this off his chest. He now felt he should not be taking the blame for all this and felt he was set up.

He said “the mrs” and Keith were going back out, they had agreed he would take the blame and now they were out there and he was taking the rap for it. He said the only reason he did not say anything sooner was because he was afraid for the kids.

He said Mr Johnston had suggested digging Mrs O’Connor up and putting her deeper. He said while Mr Johnston was cutting her up, he was getting sick into a bag.

Mr Greene said Stephanie knew something had happened to her grandmother when she dressed up and left the house.

He was asked why Stephanie left the house just after 9.30pm on the night in question, when he claimed the fight between him and Mrs O’Connor did not happen until midnight.

Mr Greene said he must have got the times wrong. “I honestly didn’t do it, I swear on anyone’s life I didn’t do it, you have to believe me,” he told gardaí.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott warned the jury again that anything said by Mr Greene about the other accused in interviews could not be used as evidence against them.

The jury also heard a statement from Stephanie, who has pleaded not guilty to impeding the apprehension or prosecution of Kieran Greene.

She told Garda Nuala Burke that Mr Greene was a great dad to his three young kids. She said her grandmother and her husband, Gus, never lived as husband and wife as long as she lived in the house. She said her nana rarely left the house since she had retired the previous year.

She said her grandmother had good days when she was great, and bad days when she was terrible.

She said her nana made Stephanie’s mother’s life very difficult – she sucked the energy out of her she said, and hung over her the fact that she could throw them out of the house at any time. She said she liked to make people unhappy.

Stephanie said on the night her grandmother went missing, she heard the hall door being opened with force at around 10pm and heard her say “I will be back when he kicks his clogs”.

She said she took that to mean her grandfather. She said she did not wake during the night, and did not recall any disturbance.

She said about a week after her nana had been reported missing, Kieran Greene had told his children “when you do bad things you have to own up to them”.

She said she started to suspect he had done something to her nana. She said he told them nana hit him with a hurley, he took the hurley and before he knew it she was dead on the floor. He said he took the body and brought it to Wexford. She said she did not want to know any other details.

Garda David Sheahan gave evidence of taking a voluntary statement from Stephanie’s father and co-accused, Keith Johnston.

He said he had moved into the house at Mountainview Park for about a year in 2006. He said Patricia O’Connor had a foul mouth on her and seemed to have a problem with all the men. He said she would pick on Gus O’Connor more than anyone else and he described him as a very placid man.

He said he did not get on with Kieran Greene at first but they became friendly.

He said he was told on 31 May 2017 that Mrs O’Connor had left the house a few nights earlier, after a big row with Louise O’Connor. He said he had fixed a step and tiles in the bathroom at the weekend. He told gardaí he had a nagging feeling and kind of thought that he could potentially be cleaning up a crime scene.

He said when Kieran Greene told them what he had done, Louise was almost getting sick in front of him. He said he had never seen Patricia O’Connor hit anyone, it was always her mouth, he said.