Man strangled brother with bungee cord before submerging him in pit of water
A 41-year-old man who has pleaded not guilty to murdering his brother by reason of insanity used a bungee cord to strangle him before submerging his body in a water filled pit beside the Cliffs of Moher and concealing it under rocks, a jury has heard.
Declan O'Cualain with an address at An Caoran Beag, An Cheathru Rua, Co Galway is charged with murdering Adrian Folan (O'Cualain) at Lislorkin North, Liscannor, Co Clare on July 4 2014.
On Monday at the Central Criminal Court Mr O'Cualain pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Folan by reason of insanity.
Yesterday morning prosecution counsel Mr Anthony Sammon SC called Detective Inspector John Galvin who was attached to Ennis Garda Station at the time to give evidence.
Det Insp Galvin told the court that Adrian Folan was reported by friends to be missing from "his usual place of abode and activities" which was in Athlone in Co Westmeath on July 5 2014.
The court heard searches were then carried out in Athlone in an effort to locate Mr Folan.
"Declan O'Cualain was aware of this and was part of the searches.
On July 6 2014 Mr O'Cualain made certain confessions to his friend Paul Taylor that he had killed his brother by strangulation and had disposed of the body in Co Clare," said Det Insp Galvin.
Mr O'Cualain also rang Athlone Garda Station and made a further confession to having killed his brother.
The accused was then arrested at his home in Carraroe, Galway at 4.30am on Monday July 7 2014. Declan O'Cualain told gardai he had disposed of his brother's body "adjacent to the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare.
"Det Insp Galvin told the court he along with other gardai went to the Cliffs of Moher area on July 7 to locate the body of the deceased which was "concealed under rocks."
He said gardai had noticed a sock emerging from a pool of water, where there was a body under some rocks.
The State Pathologist Marie Cassidy went to the scene and pronounced Adrian Folan dead.
The court heard his body was then taken to Limerick University Hospital where it was formally identified formally by his brother Alan.
During the course of interviews at Galway Garda Station, Declan O'Cualain told gardai how he strangled his brother using a "bungee cord" which is "an elastic piece of material."
"The killing took place in the accused's Citroen Berlingo van which he parked at the entrance to the main car park at the Cliff of Moher visitor's centre," said Det Insp Galvin.
The court heard the vehicle was depicted on CCTV footage as being parked there from 2.07am until 2.29am on July 4.
"In the course of his contact with gardai the accused said he disposed of the bungee cords used in this event at the Barna Waste Recycling Facility on the Headford Road in Galway," said Det Insp Galvin.
The accused told gardai he used the first cord to strangle his brother and the second cord was used to tie around his neck "to ensure he was dead."
The court heard that the "burnt remnants" of a knife which he had used to cut the bungee cords was later found in Mr O'Cualain's house.
Det Insp Galvin told the court that during interviews he confessed to killing his brother, why he had killed him, how he had killed him with the bungee cords and how he had disposed of them.
Yesterday afternoon Detective Sergeant Paudie O'Shea from Salthill Garda Station was called to give evidence by the prosecution.
Det Sgt O'Shea told the court that the accused first made admissions about the killing to his "good friend" Paul Taylor.
The witness told the court he arrested the accused at his home on July 7.
He said Mr O'Cualain was in the upstairs bedroom, fully clothed and sprang up out of the bed before he cautioned him.
Six interviews took place between gardai and Mr O'Cualain in Galway Garda Station.
The accused told gardai he was upset his brother had abused a member of his family and he was "paranoid about child abuse."
Prosecution Counsel, Mr Anthony Sammon SC, had earlier told the jury that the accused had become "fixated with paedophilia" and held the baseless delusion that his brother was a person "afflicted with this difficulty and he may have sexually abused a sibling".
Mr Sammon said the accused was in "an utterly delusional state of mind" at the time and the delusions were "not to be given any weight whatsoever".
Mr O'Cualain had also written directions to where he had buried his brother on a green post-it. "I confessed what I had done to my friend Paul Taylor.
I wanted to get directions clear before I rang the gardai," he told gardai. In interviews Mr O'Cualain told gardai he left Galway in his van on July 4 to visit his brother who was living in Athlone.
In Athlone the accused pretended to his brother that he had left his wallet in Ballinasloe as that was "the excuse" he needed to "get Adrian out of the house and talk to him on his own."
Mr O'Cualain told gardai in the interview that he "was a bit paranoid and upset that he had sexually abused a member" of his family.
The deceased told gardai he could kill his brother as such was the anger he felt that evening and it was his intention to push him off the Cliffs of Moher.
The accused agreed with gardai that he planned to abduct his brother for the purpose of killing him.
They arrived at the Cliffs of Moher at 2am and Adrian was worried about his safety.
Mr O'Cualain asked his brother had he abused any other children but he said no.
The court heard when Adrian was distracted, the accused "took him by surprise" and "wrapped" a cord around his hand as he was looking out the window.
Det Sgt O'Shea told the court that the accused told him the deceased's heart was beating for five to ten minutes when he tightened the cord around his neck.
Mr O'Cualain did not cut the cord from his brother until he found "a place to get rid of him."
The accused told gardai he drove until he came across a track with no houses around and this track led to a pond.
"The plan was to get him into the sea but this was the best I could do," Mr O'Cualain told gardai. The court heard the accused pulled his brother out of the van and "piled rocks on top of him."
Mr O'Cualainn then went home, had a few showers and tidied his van.
The court heard the accused is the second eldest in his family and had a job in AIB before he got sick in 2000.
Mr O'Cualainn also told gardai he was consumed by what Adrian had done and his motive for killing him was because he was a "paedophile."
"I had other motives too.
I think he signed a form to give me electric shocks and when we were children he would beat me up," said Mr O'Cualainn.
"My primary motive was to save the lives of children in the future," he said.
The court heard the accused told gardai that he previously spoke to a garda and someone in a psychiatric unit about his brother.
Det Sgt O'Shea said a bag of five bungee cords were found at Barna Waste Recycling Facility which were disposed of the morning after Adrian Folan was killed.
"I did plan to kill him that morning, the plan was to bring him to the Cliffs of Moher and kill him," read the witness. Chief State Pathologist Marie Cassidy was then called by the prosecution to give evidence.
Prof Cassidy told the court she attended a scene in Liscannor on July 7 2014 which was close to the road at the edge of a quarry pit.
The body of Adrian Folan which was covered in mud was "partly submerged" in the water filled pit in the quarry with only the toe of one sock visible.
She said there was a smell off the body as he had been dead for a few days. There was stones placed on top of the submerged body.
Prof Cassidy told the court she then carried out a post mortem of the deceased at Limerick University Hospital.
The cause of death was asphxia and a lack of oxygen due to compression on the deceased's neck.
"There was bruising of his soft tissues in his neck and fractures in his Adam's apple which were consistent with thick ligature used to compress his neck," she said. Prof Cassidy said Mr Folan's death would have occurred in minutes and he was most likely dead when he was placed in the water.
The trial continues.