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Guilty plea Man directed to clean up house where Keane Mulready Woods was murdered, court hears

Father-of-eight Gerard 'Ged' McKenna will be sentenced next week after pleading guilty to cleaning up and removing evidence from the scene at his home where the 17-year-old was murdered two years ago.

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Gerard McKenna

Gerard McKenna

Gerard McKenna

A bullet proof vest containing Keane Mulready Woods' blood, bone fragment and a bloodied axe were all found close to the scene of the teenager's murder, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Father-of-eight Gerard 'Ged' McKenna will be sentenced next week after pleading guilty to cleaning up and removing evidence from the scene at his home where the 17-year-old was murdered two years ago.

His sentencing hearing today heard that he was directed to clean up the property by a deceased criminal of "very, very significant notoriety" linked to a number of murders.

Evidence was also given by the prosecuting detective who said, when asked if the teenager's murder was over something petty, that "there may be more to it".

McKenna (52), of Rathmullen Park in Drogheda, now faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

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Keane Mulready-Woods.

Keane Mulready-Woods.

Keane Mulready-Woods.

Prosecuting counsel Michael Delaney SC took Det Sgt Peter Cooney through the facts of the case.

He said that Keane Mulready Woods was reported missing by his mother at 4pm on January 13, 2020, after he had not arrived home.

Investigations established that at 6pm on the previous evening he took a taxi from Saint Dominic’s Bridge to local shops in the nearby Ballsgrove estate.

CCTV footage showed him arriving there and a man - referred to as Mr A - paying for the taxi before they both go into the store.

Det Sgt Cooney said they then left in a navy Volkswagen Jetta driven by a man referred to as Mr B.

The court heard that both men are suspects in the murder investigation.

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On January 13, at around 9.45pm, the "gruesome discovery" of human limbs in a sports bag was made in the Moatview area of Priorswood in Dublin.

These, and a skull found in the boot of a burnt-out Volvo car off Clonliffe Road in the capital two days later, were identified as belonging to Keane Mulready Woods.

The court heard that his torso was discovered last year in Rathmullen Park and that a cause of death was unascertained.

Det Sgt Cooney said that on foot of confidential information he obtained a search warrant for Gerard McKenna's home which was executed at 4.50pm on January 14.

When gardaí entered they noticed a strong smell of paint and a technical examination was carried out of the two-bedroom council house.

The court heard that even though the scene had been painted, blood staining was still visible, while a section of the floor had been partially replaced with a different type of wood.

Forensic examinations recovered Keane Mulready Woods' blood at different locations, including underneath the front window and radiator, on the leg of a TV stand and front of a Sky box and along the fireplace.

The court also heard that the internal hall door had been taken off its hinges, but directional splatter staining was found inside the wall.

A couch, which had been in the property at the time of the assault, was found in the back garden which had blood spatter staining on it.

Det Sgt Cooney said that a number of items had also been recovered from a fire in a green area around 70m away from the property.

This included a ballistic stab vest and a box of royal army Swiss knives, both of which contained the victim's blood. Part of the sofa was also recovered from the fire.

McKenna's DNA and Keane Mulready Woods' blood were also discovered on clothing recovered from the house.

Det Sgt Cooney said that keys to a Corolla were found in the property and, when searched, several more items containing the teenager's blood were found in the car at the back of the house.

This included an axe with blood on the handle, socks, and bone fragment.

Gerard McKenna was arrested a month later on February 20 and during interview told gardaí he returned home on the Monday morning and "didn't recognise the place", that it was "clean", and that he was told what to do.

McKenna said he "didn't know the child had a vest" and "we were told to burn the bags, I didn't know what was in them".

The court heard that the accused expressed remorse during his time in custody and that he overdosed on prescription pills towards the end of his detention period. He required hospital treatment for over two days and when released was brought to court and charged.

The detective sergeant agreed with Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, that Keane Mulready Woods was lured to the house by persons involved in an organised crime gang.

It was put to him that the murder was over "something very petty" but Det Sgt Cooney responded: "No, there may be more to it."

He said that Gerard McKenna knew something bad was going to happen when he allowed his house to be used but accepted this did not include knowing of the specifics.

Gardaí noted that when they met McKenna at his house in the days after the murder he was "inconsolable, intermittently crying and expressed his remorse to the family of Keane Mulready Woods".

Phone records were also put to McKenna during his garda interviews including calls from a deceased criminal who the court heard was a person of "very, very significant notoriety" who previously had a "number of murders attributed to him".

McKenna told gardaí when the records were put to him: "He will kill my child" and "I don't know why I took the call."

The court was also told that Gerard McKenna has 14 previous convictions including for the sale of drugs, burglary and violent disorder dating back to 1993.

Mr O'Higgins submitted that his client offered material assistance to gardaí investigating an "absolutely dreadful event" and that he was not part of the group involved.

He also said Gerard McKenna was "not a significant criminal" and that describing the clean up as a half job "would be something of an understatement".

Mr Justice Paul McDermott adjourned sentencing until Tuesday of next week and remanded the accused in custody.

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