'Trauma' | 

Man cleared of Josh Dunne murder to leave Ireland over ‘violent comments’

George Gonzaga Bento (36) was found not guilty of any offence in relation to the fatal stabbing of the 16-year-old by a jury at the Central Criminal Court this week.

George Gonzaga Bento leaves the Central Criminal Court yesterday after being acquitted of the murder of Josh Dunne in January 2021. Photo: Collins Courts

Neasa Cumiskey

The partner of a food delivery cyclist who was cleared of schoolboy Josh Dunne’s murder has said that he will leave Ireland due to “violent” online threats.

George Gonzaga Bento (36) was found not guilty of any offence in relation to the fatal stabbing of the 16-year-old by a jury at the Central Criminal Court this week.

The Brazilian national was also acquitted of two charges of assault causing harm and of producing a knife in a manner likely to intimidate others.

Speaking to the Irish Mirror, Mr Bento’s partner Cohelo Macedo revealed his plans to return to Brazil “to start his life again”.

“He doesn’t intend to stay in Ireland. He’s very concerned,” she said.

"Ireland is a lovely country [but] we have seen some comments on social media that make us really worried.

“We are glad that we didn’t suffer any physical threat, but we don’t know these people that are posting these violent comments online and he does not feel like waiting to see what they can do. But at the end of the day we are trying to keep positive thoughts and hoping that everything is gonna be alright.”

She said that Mr Bento intends to visit his family after being in custody for more than a year before starting fresh in Brazil.

Ms Macedo said that she's relieved to see justice being served but added that Mr Bento does not want to comment further “in respect of the pain that both families have been through”.

“George had never been in prison or nowhere close to a fight in 35 years of his life, and suddenly, for trying to stop a crime, he was put in jail for 16 months awaiting the trial,” she told the publication.

George Gonzaga Bento

“Thankfully, after six weeks of trial, almost 200 witnesses and CCTV records that showed what really happened on that unfortunate night, justice has been served.”

Mr Bento walked free on Tuesday after a jury accepted his position that he was acting in self-defence when he was attacked by a gang as he and a colleague tried to retrieve a stolen bike in January 2021.

He said he pulled out a utility knife that he carried for cutting fruit and stabbed three people, including 16-year-old Josh.

Members of Josh’s family have said that they are “heart-broken” to see Mr Bento cleared of his murder, with the teen’s mother, Diane Dunne, vowing to keep fighting for her son forever.

Taking to Facebook, she thanked everyone for “their kind words but I'm not going down easy I'll keep fighting for Josh ontill the day I die (sic).”

And his sister Jade Dunne told of how she was “ashamed to be Irish” following the jury’s verdict.

In an Instagram post on Tuesday afternoon, she wrote that Ireland’s justice system “failed my brother".

“Never thought I’d see the day where I’d say I’m ashamed to be Irish,” she said.

“I’m heartbroken that this has happened.”

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