A PICNICKER who first found the dismembered remains of grandmother Patricia O’Connor in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains said she initially thought the upper torso was a “piece of a pig.”
The young woman had been on a family outing in the mountains when she came across the body part on an embankment near their picnic spot.
She did not know what it was and pointed it out to family members who called the gardai.
The woman gave evidence in the Central Criminal Court trials of Kieran Greene (34), who is accused of murdering Ms O’Connor (61), and three other people who are charged with impeding the garda investigation.
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The retired hospital worker’s remains were found scattered in 15 parts at nine locations over a 30km-wide area in the mountains between June 10 and 14, 2017.
When she was identified, Ms O’Connor was found to have died from blunt force trauma caused by at least three blows to the head.
Kieran Greene denies murdering Ms O’Connor at the house they shared at Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, on May 29, that year.
Ms O’Connor’s daughter and granddaughter Louise (41) and Stephanie O’Connor (22), as well as Louise O’Connor’s ex-partner, Keith Johnston (43) all deny acting to impede Mr Greene’s apprehension or prosecution.
Keith Johnston is alleged to have assisted Mr Greene in buying implements to use in the concealment of Patricia O’Connor’s remains, and to have refurbished the bathroom at the house to destroy or conceal evidence.
Today, the jury was told a family of around 14 people including children had been out for a picnic in the mountains on June 10, 2017, fist going to Sally Gap and then on to an area off the Military Road, Old Boley, for a second picnic later.
Christine Murphy told the court they got to the picnic spot at around 6.30pm and about 30 to 40 minutes later, she returned to their cars with her sister in law to get baby wipes from her brother’s Ford.
She told prosecutor Roisin Lacey SC she was walking back along the bank on the side of the road when she “came across something” on the sloped part of the embankment.
“I didn’t know what it was at the time,” Ms Murphy said. “I described it as looking like a piece of a pig.”
She pointed it out to her sister in law, who did not go near it and they returned to the picnic, staying for another 30 to 40 minutes, she continued.
When they were completely finished, they returned to the cars and noticed the window of her brother’s car had been smashed and a handbag taken.
They walked back along the bank to see if they could spot the stolen handbag. Ms Lacey asked if she saw anything else.
“The torso again,” she replied.
She called her brother Jonathan over to look at it.
Jonathan Murphy told the court as they were searching for the bag that had been taken from their brother’s car, his sister Christine pointed out what she had seen.
“It was an upper torso, from the ribs up to the neck. There was one arm longer than the other,” he said.
Earlier, Detective Sergeant David Conway gave evidence of photographing body parts that were found in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains between June 12 and 14, including the head and hands which were in a black plastic bag. Other remains included parts of a torso. These were subsequently identified as those of Ms O’Connor.
Later in June and July, he went to the house at Mountainview Park and photographed apparent blood stains on the kitchen wall and an external wall.
He agreed with Conor Devally SC, for Mr Greene, that issues like suspected blood stains were never determined by visual inspection.
Garda Gerard Geanue gave evidence of photographing a shallow grave in a field at Killeagh, Blackwater, Co Wexford on June 14, 2017. This contained pieces of hair and a cloth-like material.
He told Mr Devally he believed it was a barley field and there were tillage lines from tractors.
Scenes of Crime examiner, Garda Brian Shiggins said he photographed and bagged items found in undergrowth near the river at the Dodder Valley Linear Park in Tallaght on January 2, 2018.
These were two hacksaws and a hatchet.
Another crime scene examiner, Gda Gerard Fox photographed a silver Toyota Corolla at Rathfarnham Garda Station on June 13, 2017.
Gda Wayne Farrell said on January 9, 2018, he photographed tools purchased by gardai including hacksaws, axes, knives, extra-strong rubble sacks, wellington boots, a petrol can and garden gloves.
Mr Devally said these had been purchased by gardai to replicate what was thought to have been purchased previously. Photographs of implements such as hacksaws and hatchets showed side-by-side comparisons with “retrieved items.”
Mr Greene, with an address at Mountainview Park, Louise and Stephanie O’Connor, both of Millmount Court, Dundrum, and Mr Johnston, from Avonbeg Gardens, Tallaght, are being tried before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of six women and six men.
The jury is expected to last up to seven weeks.
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