moped | 

Delivery cyclist has said at murder trial it's common for 'Deliveroo community' to have bikes stolen

Guilherme Quieroz was giving evidence at the murder trial of fellow deliver rider George Gonzaga Bento accused of murdering Josh Dunne (16)

Josh Dunne

Alison O'Riordan

A food delivery rider has told the trial of a fellow worker who is accused of stabbing schoolboy Josh Dunne to death that it is very common for the "Deliveroo community" to have their bikes stolen.

George Gonzaga Bento (36), a Brazilian national, with an address in East Wall in Dublin 3 is charged with murdering the 16-year-old at East Wall Road, East Wall on January 26, 2021.

The prosecution alleges that Mr Bento, a delivery cyclist, produced a knife during a "stand-off or confrontation" with a man on a moped for stealing another delivery cyclist's bike. Very shortly after this, a group of young people including Josh came upon this confrontation.

Prosecution counsel Sean Guerin SC has told the jury they will hear evidence that some force was used by members of the group on Mr Bento, along with evidence that the accused stabbed Josh's teenage friend. Counsel said there will be evidence that the deceased, who had been back a short distance from the confrontation, then became physically involved, moved towards Mr Bento and appeared to use force or violence towards him.

Guilherme Quieroz, who gave his evidence today with the assistance of an interpreter, told Mr Guerin that he was originally from Sao Paulo in Brazil and that he came to Ireland with his wife in early 2020.

Mr Quieroz said he came to Ireland to study English and initially obtained work in a factory in Finglas. He began doing food deliveries for Uber Eats around the end of 2020.

Mr Guerin asked the witness if he had based himself at a particular location for his food deliveries. Mr Quieroz said he was not working in a specific area at the time but had mostly based himself in Rathmines as it was the "safest area". However, he said that because of "the lockdown" he later "couldn't go further than two kilometres". "Because of this I just based myself at that McDonald's [on East Wall Road] which was 1km from my home," he added.

Mr Quieroz said he got a Deliveroo jacket from his friend/flatmate when he started working for Uber Eats. He agreed with Mr Guerin that he was wearing a Deliveroo jacket that night but was working for Uber Eats.

Mr Quieroz said his bike can be seen on CCTV footage from January 26, which he described as a black hybrid bicycle with two batteries. The witness said that the other food delivery cyclist outside McDonalds with him that night was Mr Bento. "I didn't know his surname, just knew a little bit as we used to work together so we just sat there and talked [sic]," he explained.

Mr Quieroz said Mr Bento's bike was a type of mountain bike but was not electric.

When asked what attracted his attention around 9.15pm that night, the witness said he saw someone crossing the road on a moped and that the person was carrying a bicycle. "The bicycle was very similar to the bicycles used by Deliveroo riders. It was an electric bike and there are two types.......most of these types of bikes are faster and more comfortable," he said.

Mr Quieroz said the man on the moped had the bicycle on his shoulder, which he thought was "really strange". "A few minutes later when he further we could see him having some difficulty carrying the bike [sic]," he added.

Mr Guerin asked the witness if there had been any conversation between himself and Mr Bento about the bicycle, which the man on the moped was carrying. "It was clear to us that this bicycle didn't belong to him and we could realise the bicycle was parked at the supermarket. It was an apparent theft of the bike because it was very common in this community. It is very common to the Deliveroo community to have their bikes stolen [sic]," said Mr Quieroz.

The witness said he and Mr Bento couldn't say "100 percent" that it was someone stealing the bike but they decided to "go check the circumstances". Mr Quieroz agreed with Mr Guerin that they had both agreed that it appeared to be a stolen bike.

Mr Quieroz also agreed with counsel that it was his idea to follow the man on the moped who had the bike. "I told George that it could be good for us both to go there and check. I feel sorry today because of this," he said. Mr Bento and the witness got on their bikes and cycled in the direction of the man on the moped.

The witness was shown another clip of himself and Mr Bento arriving further down East Wall Road.

Mr Guerin told the jury that the camera system from The Seabank House on East Wall Road did not record continuously so about 17 seconds were missing from when Mr Bento and Mr Quieroz arrived.

In the next clip, Mr Quieroz told the jury that the man on the moped no longer had [the stolen] bicycle in the CCTV footage and that it was on the ground.

When asked to recall what happened when they approached the man on the moped, Mr Quieroz said Mr Bento had spoken to him as his English was better. "He [Mr Bento] told the motorbike rider to leave the bike there as the bike didn't belong to him," said the witness.

Mr Guerin asked what the man on the moped's reaction was to this. "He was just shouting at us and just driving in circles, sometimes he passed by the bicycle and kicked the bicycle on the floor".

The lawyer also asked the witness if the man on the moped had made any attempt to take the stolen bicycle after they arrived. "As far as I remember he didn't, he only kicking the bike [sic]," he said.

In his opening address, Mr Guerin told the jury that they may have to consider the issue of self-defence as Mr Bento had "invoked a fear" for himself and his friend when interviewed by gardai.

Mr Bento is also accused of producing an article in a manner likely to intimidate another in the course of a dispute or fight, namely a utility knife. 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 trial continues tomorrow in front of Mr Justice Paul Burns and a jury of five men and seven women.

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