Murder trial hears self defence claim

By: Natasha Smith

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STATEMENTS TAKEN from the men on trial for the murder of Michael Ahern were read out by the judge in Albufeira court and accepted by the accused as true accounts of the events, before and after Ahern’s death.

Englishman David Figueira and Irish nationals Brad Curtis, Brian Murphy, Alan O’Sullivan and Kevin McMullen are charged with murdering Ahern in September 2005 and perverting the cause of justice, by aiding and abetting the concealment of the fact.

The court heard that Murphy drove Ahern’s car on the night he died because the victim had consumed too much alcohol. An altercation took place in the car between Ahern and Figueira, which concerned Ahern’s girlfriend.

She had suffered a miscarriage days before and Ahern blamed Figueira for not locating him sooner.  Ahern turned towards the back seat and pointed a gun at Figueira. There was a great deal of shouting from the other occupants of the car and a great deal of confusion, according to the accused.

When Ahern cocked the gun, Murphy was the one who shoved his arm and not Figueira as some accounts suggested. The gun fell out of Ahern’s hand and into the back seat. Figueira then lifted the gun and shot Ahern at least three times.

Ahern was still alive at this point and he got out of the car. Murphy followed him, where Ahern collapsed 20 metres away and died. Ahern was then placed in the trunk of the car and taken to Figueira’s apartment in Albufeira, where the body was later discovered in a freezer, which the accused adamantly agreed, was purchased after his death.

The accused all agreed that no fight took place outside the car between Ahern and Murphy and maintain that the shooting was an act of self-defence, whereas the prosecution believes that the murder was premeditated.

Curtis confirmed in court that he had been told to go to Spain to destroy Ahern’s mobile phone and he was accompanied by O’Sullivan when he moved Ahern’s caravan so it would be assumed that he had left and was not missing.

The next court session will take place on February 21, where character witnesses including the victim’s girlfriend are scheduled to give testimony.

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