A chef who is on trial for the murder of a man found headless and dismembered in Cork told police in Romania that two men — armed with a machete and a knife — forced him to put the severed remains of the deceased into a bag and then under a bush in the garden of a derelict house.
Ionut Cosmin Nicholescu (30), who is a native of Branistea Village, Dambovita County is on trial charged with the murder of 64-year-old Frankie Dunne between December 27th and December 28th, 2019 at Castlegreine House, Boreenmanna Road in Cork city.
Mr Nicholescu worked at the Silver Quay pub in Cork from 2016 until late December 2019. He subsequently returned to his native Romania.
He gave a voluntary interview to police in Bucharest on the January 16th, 2020. A team of detectives from Cork had travelled to Romania for the interview.
A jury at the Central Criminal Court in Cork heard that Nicholescu told police in Romania that when he went to the derelict house where he was squatting after work on December 27th, 2019 he encountered two men.
He said he heard a noise when he entered the garden of Castlegreine House.
"There was a man with a sword or a machete. I was fearful. He told me to follow him."
Mr Nicholescu said that he dropped a milk carton that he was holding as he was in shock. He claimed that he followed the man and that they came to another man who wore a cap and was "red haired and looked Irish."
He was told to go around the corner of the garden where he spotted a man lying on the ground.
"I backed up a little. I was afraid. The second man who looked Irish dragged him [the man lying on the ground] to the back of the house. There was no sign of life. The second man started to disrobe the man he had dragged.
"He appeared dead to me. They took off his shoes and pulled off his pants. I saw the second man was armed with a knife.
"The fat man with the machete pulled out a roll of trash bags from his pocket and threw them near the body. "
Mr Nicholescu told police that he was ordered to put the clothes in a bag. He said he did it as he was afraid the men would hurt him.
He stated that the red haired man cut off the throat of the man with a knife. He claimed that the man with the machete ordered him to put the head in a bag.
"I grabbed the head and put it in the bag. I was trembling with fear. "
Mr Nicholescu said that he knew the men "meant business."
Meanwhile, the jury also heard that gardaí contacted Mr Nicholescu after he left Ireland for Romania. Chief Superintendent Vincent O'Sullivan said that he rang the accused on January 2nd, 2020 to inform him that gardaí wanted to speak to him about the death of Mr Dunne.
Chief Supt O'Sullivan said that he received a call from Mr Nicholescu at 1.37pm that day. A recording was made of the conversation.
Mr Nicholescu told Chief Supt O'Sullivan that when he went to Castlegreine House on December 27th, 2019 he saw two men standing over a body.
Mr Nicholescu said the men ordered him to drag the body through a door at the side of the house in to the back garden. They then "cut up the body, they f***ing cut it up."
“There were two men — one guy was behind me with a big sword like a machete.
"I said ‘I don’t want to die – don’t hit me with the sword.' He told me to come with him or he was going to burst my head with the sword."
He told the garda that the man made him put a bag with Frankie Dunne's head in the bushes along with his arms and the body. When he completed the job the men had gone.
“I did not do anything, I did not kill the guy – I did not do it, all I did was carry the body for them and put it in the bushes."
Mr Nicholescu said he didn’t report the matter to the gardai because he was afraid that “they [the two men] would f***" him up.
“I’m scared, I don’t want to go to prison because something bad could happen to me there … it is not me that did it, I do not want to go to jail for 100 years. I am innocent.”
The trial continues in front of a jury of eight women and four men. It is being presided over by Mr Justice Paul McDermott.