Violent father of Kildare man accused of impeding murder investigation tried to get him to carry explosives and join IRA

The trial continues before the Central Criminal Court in Dublin

Courts reporting service


Courts reporting service


Violent father of Kildare man accused of impeding murder investigation tried to get him to carry explosives and join IRA

Central Criminal Court

The father of a man charged with impeding the investigation into the murder of Kenneth O'Brien was a "very violent" man who in the past had tried to get his son to carry explosives and join the IRA, a jury has heard.  

The Central Criminal Court trial has already heard that the accused's father, Paul Wells Senior, shot Mr O'Brien in his back garden before dismembering the victim's body with a chainsaw and dumping it in the Grand Canal. 

The prosecution has alleged that the accused, who endured a "life of hardship" under his father, dumped parts of the chainsaw in different locations, knowing at the time that his father had taken a life.

Gary Wells, was giving evidence yesterday, Thursday, November 7, in the trial of his older brother Paul Wells Junior (33), who is charged with impeding the apprehension or prosecution of his father Paul Wells Senior (51) nearly four years ago.

Giving evidence today, Mr Wells told prosecuting counsel Michael Bowman SC that his father told him on two occasions on January 15 that he was not to come home to Finglas that night so he stayed with his partner. 

He told the court there was "quite a toxic relationship" between family members and his father, Wells Snr. 

The witness said he phoned his father on the night of January 15 and felt his voice was a little out of breath. He also got the sense he was being rushed off the phone, said Mr Wells. 

He said he returned to the family home the following morning and observed his father "wrapping up a powerhose" on the deck behind their house. Two large bottles of bleach were beside him and he appeared to be washing down the deck, he continued. The court has already heard that this was the address where the deceased was shot dead, before his remains were dismembered and found in a canal.

The witness said his father handed him a black bin liner to take to his brother's house on January 17. "I could make out from the shape it was like a chainsaw," he said, adding that he put it into the boot of his car before driving to Mr Wells Jnr's house in Celbridge.

When he arrived at the accused's house, his brother told him to put the bag into the boot of his girlfriend's car. Mr Wells agreed with Mr Bowman that the accused man had told him that he couldn't understand why their father had a shed if he couldn't store anything in it and called Wells Snr "tapped". 

The witness said that by the time his father had rang Mr Wells Jnr to get rid of the chainsaw and break it up, he had already broken it up. 

The witness said his father had also asked him to remove two bags of rubbish from their house later that evening. He put the bags into the boot of his car and saw a small red stain on a piece of cardboard. 

Mr Wells agreed that his brother had told him how scared and afraid he felt when he went on a drive with Wells Snr in Co Kildare on January 16 as he thought he was going to be shot.

Mr Wells said his father also asked him to give his brother a brown envelope containing €11,300 on January 28. "I told Paul to count it as I was worried my dad was trying to set him up," he said. 

In cross-examination, Mr Wells agreed with defence counsel Damien Colgan SC that gardai had called to their house a lot when he was younger in relation to his father and keeping firearms.

The witness said he had a mixed relationship with his father as "everything had to be his way or no way" and he was very violent. 

Mr Wells said his father attacked his sister one day and tried to stand on her head. "Only for the intervention of my brother Paul he would have killed her," he said. The witness said his father had also assaulted his mother, running at her with a knife but the accused had jumped on his back. 

"A number of times he [Wells Snr] went at me for stupid stuff like being late," he said. 

"Paul has been a father figure to me all my life. If it wasn't for Paul I wouldn't be here now," he said, adding that he had a plan to take his life after his father was arrested but the accused had got him involved in a football team to keep him busy. 

The witness agreed that his brother took the brunt of his father's behaviour and Wells Snr had tried to get the accused to carry explosives and join the IRA. He further agreed that Wells Snr had asked his daughter for ratchet straps and that the monies given to the accused was for Mrs Wells in case anything happened her husband. 

Mr Wells also agreed that the family home had previously been shot at saying: "They were obviously trying to get my father."

Earlier, Garda John Flaherty gave evidence that Mr O'Brien transferred €52,935 to Wells Snr through CurrencyFair Ltd and direct bank transfer, over an 18-month period whilst he was working in Australia.

The court has heard that Mr O’Brien went to Australia in 2013 and secured employment before he returned home to Ireland on December 17, 2015, shortly before his death. 

Mr Wells Junior, with an address at Beatty Park, Celbridge, Co Kildare, has pleaded not guilty to disposing of a chainsaw motor at a time unknown between January 19 and 20, 2016 in Co Kildare and not guilty to disposing of a chainsaw blade and chain on January 20, 2016 in the same location.

Paul Wells Senior was jailed for life last year having been found guilty of murdering Kenneth O'Brien at his home in Finglas on January 15 or 16, 2016. Wells Snr admitted that, after shooting the 33-year-old father in his back garden, he had dismembered his body and dumped it in a suitcase in the Grand Canal.

The trial continues today before Ms Justice Carmel Stewart and a jury of six men and six women.