“Lies and inconsistencies were put forward by the accused for literally getting away with murder,” the prosecution lawyer said in his closing speech in the case against a 30-year-old man accused of murdering a 64-year-old man in a garden in Cork at Christmas 2019.
The prosecution senior counsel said the dismemberment of the man’s body in the garden was work in progress for the planned disposal of the remains by the man who murdered him but to the defendant’s misfortune a neighbour looking for a cat found the deceased.
Ray Boland prosecution senior counsel said of 30-year-old Ionut Cosmin Nicholescu: “He has killed Frankie Dunne. He is thinking about what he is going to do about it. How is he going to dispose of the body? Dismemberment was a work in progress.”
But Mr Boland said a neighbour living in the area for 20 years had never been on the Castlegreine property and that by sheer coincidence he went looking there for his cat the day after Mr Dunne was killed. “The accused never expected that to happen – he is very unlucky it happened. And the prosecution is very lucky it happened,” the lawyer said.
Mr Boland returned to the description of two men the accused claimed had compelled him to move the remains after they had murdered Mr Dunne. He said these two men Mr Nicholescu described to gardaí were phantoms.
“These are like two baddies out of central casting, they are comically evil, both bearded, one carrying a machete, one carrying a knife,” he said.
The prosecution lawyer said the accused said he was in fear of the two men and was compelled by them to move the remains. “But by the accused’s own admission he slept that night in Castlegreine House – a dark, spooky house, in a situation where he is saying in his later accounts that he is being forced to partially assist in the disposal of evidence – the head, clothes and body of Frankie Dunne - by putting them under a tree. Two evil characters, one armed with a machete, one with a knife, that would melt into the night.
“He anticipated being assaulted by them because he has seen who they are. He is surprised he is not disposed of. Yet he chooses to stay in Castlegreine House that night.
Mr Boland said the most significant ‘lie’ told by the accused was in relation to plastic bags and he said this was borne out by the prosecution’s last witness – called just before the closing speech.
Now retired forensic scientist Nora Lee who examined the plastic bag in which the deceased man’s head was found and a similar black bag holding his clothing also analysed a roll of plastic bags in the bathroom beside the room where the accused was sleeping in the abandoned Castlegreine House.
Dr Lee said she was informed that the bags containing the head and the clothing were found in the garden of that property. The forensic scientist said she had been examining plastic bags for more than 30 years. In trying to establish if there was a connection between the two bags and the roll of bags she said she examined what she described as extrusion patterns in the manufacturing process, perforations for the tearing of bags, hem size, flaws and other evidence.
She concluded there was very strong support for the proposition that the bag containing the head and the bag containing the clothing were the first two bags pulled from a roll of bags found in the house.
Mr Boland linked this evidence to comments made about bags by the accused man when questioned on the phone by Chief Superintendent Vincent O’Sullivan.
Mr Boland said the accused described one of the two armed men in the garden on Friday December 27 2019 taking a roll of plastic bags out of his pocket and being compelled by them to put the head and clothes of Mr Dunne into bags.
The prosecution lawyer said the accused said the bags found in the bathroom were a different roll and were a roll he had taken from The Silver Key where he worked and that the bags with the head and clothing were not taken from that roll.
“Two people went in to Castlegreine House that night – Frankie Dunne and the accused. Only the accused came out. All the lies and inconsistencies were put forward by the accused for literally getting away with murder. The state has proved its case that the accused murdered Frankie Dunne and I invite you to convict.”
Submitting to the jury that the accused man murdered Mr Dunne by first striking him with a glass bottle and then strangling him he also suggested what might have started it. He said the accused was squatting in the house and the deceased had been using the garden to drink before returning home to his supervised accommodation across the road where alcohol was not allowed.
“It is perfectly possible an argument erupted about Frankie Dunne’s pitch and the accused’s place where he stayed… The two men were completely unknown to each other… They were the only two people with an interest in Castlegreine House on December 27 2019. It ultimately led to the murder of Frankie Dunne by the accused,” Mr Boland said.
The defendant who had 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.
Defence senior counsel Philipp Rahn will make his closing speech next to the jury of eight women and four men at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork in the trial presided over by Mr Justice Paul McDermott.