Jury hears Garda evidence in Matt Farrell manslaughter trial

The trial of a man accused of the manslaughter of an Offaly publican two years ago has heard how a witness walked into a garda station and told gardai he knew who the killer was.

The trial of a man accused of the manslaughter of an Offaly publican two years ago has heard how a witness walked into a garda station and told gardai he knew who the killer was.

During a robbery of a pub in Daingean, Co Offaly 64-year-old Matt Farrell had his hands bound behind his back and suffered blunt force trauma to the head and face. The grandfather and father-of-four suffered a heart attack and was found dead by his son the next day.

The trial has already heard evidence from a convicted burglar who said the accused man confessed to the crime while they shared a prison cell in late 2009.

Eddie Wing (31) with a previous address at Roscrea, Co Tipperary has pleaded not guilty to the unlawful killing of Mr Farrell at the Gaelic Bar, Daingean, Co Offaly on April 1, 2009. He has also denied burglary at the Gaelic Bar on the same date.

Yesterday (Wednesday) Garda Virginia Doona told Mary Rose Gearty SC, prosecuting, that in early January 2010 this “prison informant”, who is not being named, came into Birr garda station and said “I know who did that”.

She said he then pointed at a poster offering a €10,000 reward for information about the crime. Gda Doona said she twice asked the man, who was known to her, if he was going to tell her but that he said no and left the station.

She told Conor Devally SC, defending, that she didn’t record the incident in the official message book. She denied a suggestion that she laughed at the man.

Previously the witness told the court that on one of the occasions of him walking into the garda station to report his allegations a garda laughed at him.

She said: “I don’t remember that. I don’t think it’s possible.”

The jury has already been told that this witness met and revealed his allegations in full to Garda Inspector Dermot Drea and Garda Superintendent Pat Murray on January 19, 2010.

Gda Supt Murray told Ms Gearty that an examination of the crime scene that took place over three days failed to produce any DNA or other forensic evidence.

He said the binding used to tie the victim’s hands were examined for DNA and footprints taken from the scene were compared to the shoes of potential suspects.

He agreed with Mr Devally that until gardai spoke to the “jailhouse informant” on January 19 there was no evidence connecting any individual to the crime scene.

The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury of seven men and five women.

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