By: Natasha Smith
A FORMER police co-ordinator told a court this week that five men accused of murder and their victim were under investigation at the time for drug trafficking.
He was one of several prosecution witnesses testifying when the trial into the murder of Irishman Michael Ahern in September 2005, reconvened at Albufeira court on February 21.
Isa Santos, who lived in an apartment block in Lagos, told the court that she heard noises outside and went to the window to investigate. She saw three men dragging a body by the legs towards a car.
She was unable to distinguish their faces because it was dark and she was watching them through the gaps in her shutters. They were casually dressed and, when she heard one of them repeat the word “go”, she presumed them to be foreigners.
They dragged the body to the back of the car, which she described as a dark BMW, and lifted it into the boot. While one man attempted to close the boot, the other two got into the car.
She saw no signs of protestation from the person being dragged and her former partner corroborated her account. The couple wrote down the licence plate number and called the police. Security guards, who worked at the apartment building in Albufeira where the body was discovered, took the stand to confirm that they saw a BMW parked in front of the building after 2am on September 15.
Later that morning, between 8.40am and 9am, one of them saw two men carrying a large freezer into the building. Neither of the security guards saw a body at any time.
Former co-ordinator for Portimão Judicial Police, Carlos do Carmo, told the court that police acted quickly following the phone call from the witnesses in Lagos, as they were already intercepting the men’s mobile phones as part of the drug trafficking investigation in conjunction with Interpol.
The licence plate was traced and the men arrested less than 24 hours after the crime occurred. Two were arrested as they were leaving the apartment in Albufeira in Ahern’s BMW and a Peugeot. Police arrested the others in the apartment, where Ahern’s naked body was discovered in a large freezer. David Figueira has confessed to killing Ahern in self-defence, but the prosecution is endeavouring to prove that it was premeditated murder and that the four other accused, Brian Murphy, Brad Curtis, Alan O’Sullivan and Kevin McMullen, were also responsible for killing Ahern.
The hearing is due to resume on March 12, when the court is expected to hear from more witnesses.
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