Cork murder trial: Search for missing cat led to discovery of dismembered body 

"The first thing I saw was a set of feet. I followed that up with the torch wondering what I was seeing." 
Cork murder trial: Search for missing cat led to discovery of dismembered body 

Det. Garda Padraig Harrington and Det. Garda Brian Barron at the Courthouse at Anglesea Street, Cork for the start of the Francis ' Frankie ' Dunne murder trial. Picture Dan Linehan

The search for a missing cat named ‘Mouse’ led to the discovery of the dismembered body of a man under a bush in the back garden of a house on Boreenmanna Road in Cork over the Christmas of 2019.

Joseph Pierce told the jury in a murder trial at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork today that he was working on December 28 2019 when he got a phone call from his partner to come home. 

Their elderly cat was missing, having been at the vet the previous day, and they were concerned about the pet. After checking in the gardens of some neighbours, Mr Pierce eventually went to the back garden of Castlegreine House on Boreenmanna Road.

Mr Pierce testified, “I shone a torch on the phone – I shone it under the bush. 

"The first thing I saw was a set of feet. I followed that up with the torch wondering what I was seeing. It was obviously the shape of a body. At that point I was disbelieving what I saw. 

"I was rationalising it – thinking it was a mannequin or something like that. I could see male genitalia.” 

Mr Pierce went back to his neighbour Brendan Kerrigan. Gardaí were contacted and the two men waited for gardaí to arrive. 

Asked if there had been difficulty with people going in and out of Castlegreine House next door to him, Mr Kerrigan said, “Not particularly. 

"I have seen lights going on and off when they were working. It never infringed on my privacy.” 

Det. Garda Brian Barron and Garda Michael Costello responded to the call, arriving at the scene at around 4.10 pm that day. Det. Garda Barron said Mr Pierce was visibly shaken and said that what he had found might have been a mannequin or holy statue and that he might have over-reacted.

Directed to the area under a bush at the rear of the house, Det. Garda Barron said, “I went over to the bush and started looking under it. I could see a body under the bush. 

"It was a male - no clothes on, except for socks. The head was gone. The left arm was gone. I could not see the right arm. All the clothes were gone, bar the socks. 

"At that stage we retreated. I remained at the side of the house to preserve the scene.” 

The trial continues this afternoon.

A jury of eight women and four men was sworn in on March 13 for the trial before Mr Justice Paul McDermott of a Romanian national accused of murdering a 64-year-old man whose dismembered body was found on the grounds of the derelict house at Boreenmanna Road in Cork during Christmas 2019.

Ionut Cosmin Nicholescu, 30, with an address at Branistea Village, Damovita County, Romania, pleaded not guilty to the single count of murder. 

The defendant was put on trial charged with the murder of Francis (Frankie) Dunne. The count states that on a date unknown between December 27 and December 28 2019, he murdered Francis Dunne at Castlegreine House, Boreenamanna Road, Cork, contrary to Common Law.

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