A food delivery cyclist accused of stabbing schoolboy Josh Dunne to death told gardaí that he was "definitely not a murderer", that he was trying to defend himself on the night and that "justice will show this; the divine justice will show the right way".
When detectives put it to George Gonzaga Bento that in six seconds he had stabbed one youth three times and that Josh was dead, the accused said: "All of that is a mistake. I shouldn't have stopped the bike being stolen as I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for that. This is something I'll regret for the rest of my life".
Mr Bento (36), a Brazilian national with an address in East Wall in Dublin 3, is charged with murdering 16-year-old Josh at East Wall Road, East Wall on January 26th, 2021.
Mr Bento is also accused of producing a utility knife in a manner likely to intimidate another in the course of a dispute or fight. The defendant is further accused of assault causing harm to two other young men on the same occasion. The delivery cyclist has pleaded not guilty to each of the four counts.
The prosecution alleges that Mr Bento produced a knife during a "stand-off or confrontation" with a man on a moped who had stolen another delivery cyclist's bike. Josh Dunne and other youths arrived at the scene and got involved in the confrontation.
A pathologist has given evidence that Mr Dunne sustained two stab wounds to the chest including one that penetrated the main artery in the body.
Giving evidence on Tuesday, Sergeant Emma Ryan told Garret Baker BL, prosecuting, that five interviews were conducted with Mr Bento and that the first of these was a voluntary cautioned interview after the accused attended at Store Street Station on January 28th.
In the first interview on January 28th, Mr Bento told gardaí that he saw a male carrying an electric bike as he rode "a scooter" and suggested to fellow delivery cyclist Guilherme Quieroz that they ask the man on the moped if the bicycle belonged to him.
When they inquired about the bicycle, the man on the moped asked the accused if the bike was his and Mr Bento told him that the bike belonged to his friend.
"He tried to intimidate us and started insulting us and we insulted him back. He was riding the bike in circles and tried to kick us, he managed to kick my bicycle and it fell on the floor," said the accused.
Mr Bento said the man on the moped made some movements as if "he had a knife at back [sic]". At this point, the accused said he took a knife from his pocket and showed it to the man on the moped.
"It sounded like he was asking for confrontation. I tried to get the electric bike from the floor and saw the bicycle wheels were locked. I told Guilherme that we couldn't carry the bike anywhere and to let's go home. I looked across the road and there were more than 10 teenagers," he continued.
Mr Bento said that as Mr Quieroz tried to reach for the bicycle, the man on the moped said something to one of the teenagers and kicked Mr Quieroz. Four teenagers began to beat Mr Quieroz up then, he added.
The accused said he tried to take the knife from his pocket, but one of the teenagers punched him in the face and began hitting him. "I was trying to stop one of his punches, but I ended up stabbing him. I had my hand raised showing them to stop. Another man came and kicked me in the side and I ended up stabbing him as well," he said.
Mr Bento said he tried to pull Mr Quieroz up from the ground and told him 'let's go' but said that his fellow delivery driver was bleeding, dizzy, 'not very conscious' and could not understand what he was telling him.
The accused left the scene and said that when he turned the corner he was very scared of being followed, so he removed his orange jacket and put it in his delivery bag. He took the "long road home" to avoid being followed.
That night, Mr Bento said his fiancée suggested that they leave Ireland and they thought it was a good idea to go to Portugal. They did not know if a Covid test was necessary so they went to the airport. Whilst in the airport, Mr Bento said he saw on the news that "a guy had passed away" so they decided to stay in Ireland and look for an Irish solicitor to defend him.
The accused told gardaí that the man on the moped did not produce a knife. "When I showed my knife I thought he would back off and leave," he said.
When asked by officers why he was carrying a knife, Mr Bento said: "Because I spend almost my whole day on the street and when I buy fruit I use it to peel the fruit. I've been attacked several times, where they throw eggs or stones. I never confront anyone. This time I didn't have enough time to leave and had to come back and help Guilherme."
When asked why he had taken the knife out of his pocket, Mr Bento said it was to intimidate the youths so they would not come near him and Mr Quieroz. "Guilherme was being attacked by three at the time and there were another three coming," he added.
The accused told gardaí that the knife was hidden in a fireplace in his house. "When I got home I looked at the blade and there was no sign of blood, so I thought I didn't hurt anyone or did not cause serious harm to anyone,' he said.
The accused said he was "very sad" when he heard that "the guy died", that it never crossed his mind that this could happen and that he always tried to deal with the situation by talking. "I spent the first night praying for his recovery and praying that nothing bad happens to him. My intention was to leave and not get hurt [sic]," he said.
He continued: "I want to say I'm very sorry for something like this to happen. This has changed a family's story. I'm open to assisting. I'm deeply sorry for the loss. I've kids myself and know how great the impact can be."
"I tried to help someone whose bike was stolen, I was trying to help someone who was being lynched, my intention always to help and not cause any problems," he concluded.