Alleged getaway car in Louth double murder 'appeared to have been cleaned', court hears

Central Criminal Court

Natasha Reid

Reporter:

Natasha Reid

Alleged getaway car in Louth double murder 'appeared to have been cleaned', court hears

A CSI, who examined the alleged getaway car in a double murder investigation which occurred at Ravensdale just outside Dundalk in 2012, has told a court that the silver Mercedes 'appeared to have been cleaned’.

Belinda Kennedy was giving evidence to the Central Criminal Court today in the trial of a Dublin man, charged with murdering two fellow Dubliners on March 7th, 2012.

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 in Co Louth.

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

Ms Kennedy testified that she was a ‘CSI or crime scene investigator’ with the PSNI in Belfast, when tasked to examine a silver Mercedes in the case.

The trial previously heard that the car was found abandoned on the northern side of the border the morning after the killings. It’s the State’s case that this was the car in which the accused and another man had left Ravensdale after the ‘assassination’.

Ms Kennedy told Alexander Owens SC, prosecuting, that she photographed the vehicle, noted any damage to it, tested areas inside for firearms residue and DNA, took fibre tape lifts and removed a number of items for further analysis. She also took impressions of all of the tyres and took soil samples from underneath the car.

She said she swept ‘the whole of the car’ for fingerprints but that her results were negative, meaning that there were none or that they were obscured.

“I had noted that there was a smell of cleaning fluid, and it appeared to have been cleaned,” she said.

Under cross examination by Seán Guerin SC, defending, she agreed that she hadn’t found ‘anything usable’ in her fingerprint search.

The jury also began watching a compilation of CCTV footage in the case.

This included footage of the car in which the dead men were found being driven through Dublin City after being stolen there in the early hours of March 7th. It also included the movements of another car at a hotel in Newry later that evening.

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