Central Criminal Court

Car identification expert gives evidence at Det Garda Adrian Donohoe trial

Court

Eoin Reynolds

Reporter:

Eoin Reynolds

Car identification expert gives evidence at Det Garda Adrian Donohoe trial

Central Criminal Court

A car identification expert has said a BMW belonging to a suspect in the robbery that led to the shooting of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe matches a car identified on CCTV footage by investigating gardai.

Andy Wooller of Acuity Forensics told the trial of Aaron Brady, who denies Det Gda Donohoe's murder, that the vehicle seen on CCTV is either the suspect's BMW or the same model and make with similar alloy wheels and a similar roof that reflects light differently to the rest of the car's body.

Aaron Brady (28) from New Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh has pleaded not guilty to the capital murder of Det Gda Adrian Donohoe who was then a member of An Garda Siochana on active duty on January 25, 2013 at Lordship Credit Union, Bellurgan, Co Louth. Mr Brady has also pleaded not guilty to a charge of robbing approximately €7,000 in cash and assorted cheques on the same date and at the same location.

Mr Wooller told prosecution counsel Lorcan Staines SC that he provides expert evidence to trials in the UK, Ireland and other countries on video analysis and vehicle identification. He said he was hired by An Garda Siochana to examine CCTV footage but his duty, he said, is to the court and his evidence would not change if he were hired by the defence or the prosecution.

When gardai asked him to identify cars on CCTV footage, he said he told them not to give him any information about the cars or the nature of the offence so that his analysis would not be contaminated by confirmation bias. 

From footage taken outside Sharkey's Bar in Clogherhead, Co Louth in the early hours of January 23, 2013, three nights before the robbery, Mr Wooller identified a BMW 5-Series E60. It has been previously stated that at around the same time a Volkswagen Passat that was allegedly used in the Lordship robbery was stolen from outside a house in Clogherhead.

Mr Wooller's colleague Matt Cass then directed gardai to create a reconstruction of the CCTV footage using two similar BMW 5-Series and the suspect's car. Mr Wooller was not told which cars were which when shown the reconstruction. He identified the suspect's BMW in the reconstruction as being "entirely consistent" with the BMW viewed in the original footage.

One of the other BMW's was a "very good match" but the style of the alloy wheels was inconsistent with the car in the original footage. 

When he was later shown photographs of the suspect's car he noted that it had a wrap on the roof that created a different tone to the rest of the body. He said he then analysed the CCTV again and noted a different pattern of light reflecting from the roof of the car when compared to the same light reflecting off the boot and bonnet.

Mr Wooller also identified features of what he said was a dark toned Volkswagen Passat V6 seen at Lordship Credit Union that could be seen blocking the exit of cars while the robbery and shooting took place. He differentiated it from other models of Volkswagen by noting various distinct features including the shape of the rear lights.

The trial continues in front of Justice Michael White and a jury of six men and seven women.