By NATASHA SMITH
ONE ENGLISHMAN and five Irishmen were in Albufeira court on Monday, January 15, for the continuation of the Michael Ahern murder trial.
David Figueira, an Englishman, is accused of murdering Ahern on September 14, 2005 and storing his body in a freezer in his apartment next to the marina in Albufeira.
Brian Murphy, Brad Curtis, Alan Sullivan and Kevin McKullen are accused of aiding and abetting, destroying evidence and perverting the cause of justice.
Figueira said that on the night of the incident, they went from a bar in Lagos to an apartment belonging to Murphy’s wife, Denise. Sullivan, Figueira, Ahern and Murphy got into Ahern’s car and travelled to Albufeira. Figueira was in the back of the car and an argument ensued between him and Ahern, at which point, Ahern became verbally abusive and threatened to “wipe me out”, he told the court.
Ahern stopped the car on the road and pointed a gun at Figueira. Figueira said Ahern was the only one carrying a gun, although the court had heard that two guns were recovered during the course of the investigation.
Figueira said he managed to get hold of the gun and shoot Ahern and admitted that he fired the weapon more than once.
The defendants maintain that Ahern got out of the car and “fell to the ground around 20 metres away” and died. They put him in the trunk and he was taken to Figueira’s apartment in Albufeira, where he was later removed and placed in a newly purchased freezer.
Figueira had been in the country three to four weeks before the incident occurred, but had known Sullivan and Curtis for around five to six years. He met Murphy once or twice before seeing him in Portugal and met both McKullen and Ahern for the first time in Portugal.
The court heard testimony from Curtis, who said he was asked to destroy Ahern’s mobile phone in Spain. He and Sullivan also went to Lagos and drove Ahern’s caravan out of the campsite in Lagos. They left it in a car park near São Rafael beach in Albufeira and, according to Curtis, Figueira later asked him to get rid of Ahern’s car. McKullen was asked to accompany him. Both were arrested outside the apartment.
Figueira said: “I know I should have called the police and explained the situation, but I wasn’t thinking straight. It should never have taken place, but I was cornered in the backseat with a gun pointed at me. I thought I was going to die and my brain said it was either my life or his.”
Although Figueira confessed to shooting Ahern, the prosecution is trying to prove that the incident was premeditated.
The group is suspected of being part of an international drug trafficking ring, based on the findings of a police investigation.
Following police tapping their phones, the men were arrested.
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