Murder trial jury shown facial composites of driver of alleged getaway car

Central Criminal Court

Natasha Reid

Reporter:

Natasha Reid

Murder trial jury shown facial composites of driver of alleged getaway car

The scene at Ravensdale outside Dundalk

The jury in a double murder trial has been shown facial composites of the driver of the alleged getaway car used by the killers.

Police officers based in Newry had given the descriptions to an expert, after the car had failed to pull over in the city, shortly after two bodies were found on the other side of the border.

The two PSNI officers and the facial imaging specialist also gave evidence this (Wednesday) morning in the Central Criminal Court trial of a Dublin man, charged with murdering two fellow Dubliners in Ravensdale, Dundalk.

Jason O’Driscoll (34), with an address at Richmond Avenue, Fairview, has pleaded not guilty to murdering car thieves 31-year-old Anthony Burnett and 25-year-old Joseph Redmond on March 7th, 2012.

The trial has already heard that firefighters were called to a burning car in Ravensdale Forest Park shortly before 11 o'clock that night. Two bodies with gunshot wounds to the head were discovered inside.

Lorna Heron, Facial Imaging Specialist with the PSNI, testified that she took separate descriptions from two PSNI officers in March 2012. She worked with the officers on different days.

She explained to Alexander Owens SC, prosecuting, that she had inputted the information into a computer programme. She then used computer-generated images before adding artwork to create two facial composites, which were shown to the jury.

She explained that, because there were two images, she morphed them together to produce a morphed composite. This was also shown to the jury.

The court also heard from the two PSNI officers, who gave her the descriptions of the driver of a Dublin-registered silver Mercedes that had come to their attention.

Sgt Stephen Downey and Constable Niamh Mulholland said they had seen the driver for about five seconds when they pulled up alongside him in Newry on the night of the killings.

They told Mr Owens that the car had sped off once they activated the blue lights on their unmarked patrol car and requested the driver to pull over.

They had tried to follow it, but had suffered a flat tyre and lost it.
The jury heard that a silver Mercedes was found abandoned near the border the following day and that a cast was made of a shoe print found beside it.

PSNI Crime Scene Investigator Constable Jonathan Poole said he was called to a location near Meigh, where the car had been found without its registration plates.

“It appeared to have ground itself on a mound of concrete that had prevented it from getting out of that particular area,” he told Mr Owens.

He said he noticed what appeared to be a footwear impression in mud beside the car. He said that, once it was mapped and photographed, he recovered the mark by making a cast using plaster of Paris.

Mr Owens had said in his opening speech that this was the stolen car that had failed to stop in Newry, and in which the accused and another man had left ‘the assassination’ in Ravensdale.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of eight men and four women.