Dog walker saw 'flesh' in 'heavy briary' area of Kildare woods

The trial has heard that Philip Finnegan went missing before his decapitated body was found buried in a shallow grave in a Kildare woods
Dog walker saw 'flesh' in 'heavy briary' area of Kildare woods

Alison O’Riordan

A dog walker has told the trial of Stephen Penrose, who denies decapitating his friend and burying him in a shallow grave, that he saw "meat or flesh" when he used a stick "to root" around "a heavy briary" area of a Kildare woods.

"I knew there was something in there that shouldn't be in there," Mick Kelly told the murder trial at the Central Criminal Court on Tuesday.

Mr Penrose (38), of Newtown Court, Malahide Road, Coolock, Dublin 17, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Philip Finnegan (24) at Rahin Woods, Rahin, Edenderry, Co Kildare on August 10th, 2016.

The trial has heard that Mr Finnegan went missing before his decapitated body was found buried in a shallow grave in a Kildare woods.

Mr Kelly, who lives in Rahin, told Brendan Grehan SC, prosecuting, that he took his two dogs Bobby and Jack for a walk in Rahin Woods at 8.10pm on September 2nd, 2016. Bobby is a six-month-old Husky and Jack is a Terrier, he explained.

Forest track

The witness said he had driven to Rahin Woods in his SUV and parked at the barrier, which was locked. He went in at the church and walked the loop around the forest with the two dogs, staying on the track. "I never have the dogs on the lead, the dogs do their own thing," he said.

Mr Kelly said he was getting towards the end of his walk when the two dogs "went off into a bushy and heavy briary" area.

"You wouldn't walk through it. I was calling them to come back and they wouldn't come back. I had to go and see where they were," he told Mr Grehan.

"Bobby was barking big time and so was Jack. I found them about 50 yards close to the church site further into the forest. They were jumping around, I couldn't stop them," he said.

Sticking out of the ground

The witness said he saw "something sticking out of the ground like a plant".

Mr Kelly said he always brings a stick with him and has a dog lead on his shoulder when he walks the dogs.

"I stuck the stick in it. I thought it was a bit of an ash tree root. I used the stick to root in behind it. I knew there was meat down there somewhere causing the dogs to bark. I saw meat or flesh on the stick when I put it into the ground and knew there was something in there that shouldn't be in there," said the witness.

The trial continues this afternoon before Mr Justice Owens and a jury of eight men and four women.

On Tuesday morning, Mr Justice Alexander Owens informed the jury that Mr Penrose had "once again dismissed" the services of his legal team, which he said was not a matter relevant to their consideration.

Mr Penrose is continuing to decline to attend his trial, which is in its fourth week at the Central Criminal Court.

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