THE Romanian accused of murdering a 64-year-old man in the garden of an abandoned house in Cork said two men armed with a sword and a knife made him put the remains under a bush – and that night he slept in the derelict house and prayed.
This was part of the account given by Ionut Cosmin Nicholescu to Bucharest police, accompanied by his Romanian lawyer, and in the presence a team of detectives from Anglesea Street garda station – detectives Katrine Tansley, Brian Maher, Liam Lynch and Garda Razvan Ghetau, and Chief Superintendent Vincent O’Sullivan – who travelled to Bucharest for this purpose in January 2020.
Mr Nicholescu said two men armed with a machete sword and a knife made him move the severed remains of the deceased under a bush at the house on Boreenmanna Road, before they walked away leaving him alone with the remains of the deceased in the garden.
He said he went to a nearby park and stayed there for an hour or two. He returned to the derelict house through the front and went to the upstairs room in the house where he had been staying. He kept food and personal hygiene products there and had several blankets.
“I tried to wash myself. I realised I had no water. The water can was still by the entrance gate. I cleaned myself using the sink and tub of the bathroom.
“I went through my routine. I prayed. I went through my phone for a while. I tried to read my book. I didn’t talk to anyone. I had no idea what to tell the police,” he said.
At a later time when he saw garda cars and officers at the derelict house, “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.”
Mr Nicholescu said he called to his former boyfriend and asked him if he heard on the news about what happened at the property on Boreenmanna Road. Later his former boyfriend told the accused that police visited him asking for contact information for Mr Nicholescu.
He explained why he left the country days after the remains of Mr Dunne were found. “I was afraid I could go to jail for something I did not do,” he said.
At the close of the Bucharest statement he made some additional comments after presenting his account of what happened including the assertion that “both men were wearing black gloves” and that, “I was one or two metres from the body when the red-bearded man cut off the head.” Just as Mr Nicholescu previously told the chief superintendent in phone calls of two armed men in the garden with the deceased before he arrived back from Aldi with some provisions on Friday night, December 27, 2019, he gave a similar account in his Bucharest statement.
Earlier in this statement in Bucharest he said he had been living in Ireland since May 2015 and working in The Silver Key bar and restaurant from 2016. On the Friday night of December 27, 2019 he walked into the garden of Castlegreine House on Boreenmanna Road with his water, milk, bread and Tiramisu.
He said he heard movement behind him and turned to see a big man with a sword or machete and he sounded harsh and aggressive.
“I was startled and fearful. I dropped the milk carton from my hand. He said shut the f*** up – behave or you will get it… He walked behind me. I saw another man… And there was another man lying down on the ground. I did not know if he was dead. He was not moving.
“The second man started to disrobe the man on the ground… They pulled off his shoes, took off his pants… The knife was used to cut off his underwear… The man with the machete pulled out a roll of trash bags from his pocket,” Mr Nicholescu said.
He said he was afraid and was told to put the clothes in a bag and throw it in the bushes.
“The man with the red beard was on top of the body cutting off his throat with the knife… He told me to put the head in the bag. I felt disgusted. I grabbed the head and put it in the bag. I put it in the bushes. I was trembling with fear.
“(One of the two men) had cut off the body’s hands from the shoulders. It was a very sharp knife blade. The knife used to cut up the body looked like a hunting knife… I remember taking each of the body’s arms which were still warm in my hands… I threw the arms in the bushes. The idea (of the two men) was to put the body in the bag but it was too big.
“(One of the men) said I should drag the body into the bushes… I grabbed him by the ankles and pulled it into the bushes. The guy threatened me and ordered me… I was covered in blood on my clothes and my hands.
“After I dragged the body… then I heard some steps and they just left.”
The case goes into its ninth day tomorrow in the trial before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of eight women and four men at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.
Ionut Cosmin Nicholescu, 30, with an address at Branistea Village, Damovita County, Romania, is on trial charged with the murder of 64-year-old Francis (Frankie) Dunne between Friday December 27 and Saturday December 28, 2019, at Castlegreine House, Boreenmanna Road, Cork.