Murder trial draws to a close.jpg

Murder trial draws to a close

CLOSING STATEMENTS were heard in Albufeira court last week, in the trial of five men accused of murdering Irishman Michael Ahern in September 2005.

“I am not a cold murderer,” said David Figueira, who has admitted to shooting Ahern in self defence. He said he was placed in a position that he could not get out of, as he alleges Ahern pointed the weapon at him first. It was when it fell to the ground that Figueira picked it up and fired. He said, “I want to apologise to the family” of Ahern.

Similarly, Kevin McMullen said: “I am not a murderer. There was nothing planned,” as he attempted to convince the judges to ignore the prosecution’s claim that Ahern’s death was premeditated murder.

Both Brian Murphy and Brad Curtis declined to add any further comments to their statements.

Before Ahern’s death, the accused and the victim were under investigation for international drug trafficking. Alan O’Sullivan, the other accused, said he had requested a copy of the tapes on which the mobile phone intercepted calls were stored as part of the narcotics investigation, but was never given them.

Crime scene

The pathologist who performed the autopsy on Ahern was asked to return to the stand. She admitted that it was possible that his cranial fractures could have been caused by a bad fall as well as her original conclusion of repeated kicks, which questioned the accuracy of the autopsy report.  Figueira’s lawyer said that from the point his client was arrested, he was honest. “He never denied shooting Michael”, and requested that the judges reduce the sentence.

McMullen and Curtis’ lawyer told the court, in his closing statement, that his clients were not in the car when Ahern was shot and were therefore not responsible for his death. He said that McMullen had bought the freezer where the body of Ahern was later discovered by police but said that this was not a crime. Curtis allegedly moved Ahern’s caravan from a campsite in Lagos and got rid of his mobile phone. “He was trying to help a friend,” said the lawyer.

World of doubt

Defence lawyers said that, “in terms of a plan, there wasn’t one” and if Ahern’s death was planned, there would only be one crime scene, the guns would have worked properly and a better location would have been chosen. Also, according to the intercepted phone calls, Ahern was the one who arranged to meet them on the night he died.

Defence attorneys said the evidence presented by the prosecution had “serious irregularities and contradictions”, and “there is a world of doubts to resolve”.

Investigators were also criticised for not carrying out full toxicology or gunshot residue tests on the victim and the accused.

Money motivated

The mobile phone interception evidence was also called into question by the defence, who questioned how evidence in one case could be used in another.

The prosecution asked for the evidence to stand as it recorded calls on the night Ahern died. One call in particular heard one of the accused saying that “more bleach” was needed. Also heard was “15,000 is 15,000” and “let’s go for drinks to celebrate”. The prosecution said that there was no remorse in their voices and alleged that money was a motive for killing Ahern.

The verdict will be read out in Albufeira court on April 27 at 2pm.

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