One of the last known moments in the life of the man whose dismembered body was found in a garden was recalled today – he told the man behind the counter at an off-licence on December 27 2019 – “Santa never came to me.”
The late Frankie Dunne was not known by name to the man working at The Office off-licence on Douglas Street, Tadhg Hennessy Burke, but he knew him.
“He would come in three or four times a week. We would always exchange words.
“I remember that night. We were speaking about Christmas, from what I recall. He was saying, ‘Santa never came to me.’ I remember feeling very sad for him. He seemed sober but not in good form.
“I recognised him days later from a photo in the newspaper. I didn’t know him by name. I knew his face. I think his order was a bottle of wine and a few cans of beer,” Mr Hennessy Burke said.
Defence senior counsel, Philipp Rahn, suggested that the late Mr Dunne may have purchased vodka on occasions also. The witness said he recalled him buying wine and beer and that there was nothing unusual about the night of December 27 when he came into the off-licence.
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.
Gardaí were first alerted to a body located in the garden when a neighbour went searching for a missing cat named ‘Mouse’ early on the Saturday afternoon of December 28 and found when he suspected were human remains.
Detective Garda Brian Barron said,
"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.” Sergeant Eoin Buckley described his approach to the scene: “I crawled in under the tree. I could see there were two arms – he had been dismembered – and they were hanging over the branch of the tree. There were two bags. One had clothing. And just by holding the other, I believed it contained a human head.”