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07 Dec 2021

Jury in Kildare murder trial watches CCTV of car on day of killing

Fingerprints used to identify stabbing victim found in Kildare woods, inquest hears

The late Philip Finnegan

The jury in the trial of a man accused of murdering a 24-year-old Dubliner, whose decapitated body was found in a Kildare woods, has been watching a CCTV montage of a car's movements on the day of the killing. 


Stephen Penrose (38), of Newtown Court, Malahide Road, Coolock, Dublin 17, has pleaded not  guilty to murdering Philip Finnegan at Rahin Woods, Rahin, Edenderry, Co Kildare on August 10, 2016.

The trial has heard that Mr Finnegan went missing before his decapitated body was found buried in a shallow grave in a Kildare woods. The accused man, who was representing himself in the trial, has hired new lawyers but has declined to continue attending his trial.


Garda Shauna Nolan today (TUESDAY) took prosecuting counsel, John Berry BL, through a montage of CCTV footage showing a blue saloon car with a dark-coloured bonnet, distinctive alloy wheels and a number plate under the front passenger headlight travelling in the direction of Rahin Woods from Edenderry. 


Last Friday, Gda Nolan gave evidence that a blue saloon car pulled up at Sweeney's filling station in Edenderry, Co Offaly at 3.46pm on August 10 and a man identified as Mr Finnegan could be seen getting out of the left hand side of the car. He was dressed in a grey top and striped tracksuit bottoms, said Gda Nolan. 


In the next clip, Mr Finnegan could be seen entering the shop. That clip showed he was wearing a grey hoodie with a blue top underneath and dark bottoms with a white emblem on the left thigh. 


Gda Nolan identified the second person to walk into the shop as Mr Penrose. He was wearing a dark-coloured top, trousers and dark coloured shoes. 


Today, the jury saw Mr Penrose returning to his car after leaving the shop at Sweeney's filling station and sitting into the driver's seat. Mr Finnegan gets into the passenger seat of the car. The blue car leaves the forecourt of the garage and drives in the direction of Tullamore, said Gda Nolan. 


Gda Nolan agreed that the blue car drove past Kinnegad in the direction of Rahin Woods at 4.05pm on August 10. 


The blue car was also picked up at Grange West, Co Kildare at 4.10pm. It is possible to view the interior of the car as the passenger window of the car is down and there are two people in the car, said Mr Berry. 

Rahin Woods, where the deceased's remains were discovered by a man out walking his dog 30 days later, is a few kilometres north of Sweeney's filling station, the court has heard.


It is the prosecution case that Mr Finnegan was killed shortly after he was seen on the CCTV footage from Sweeney's filling station. 

The blue car is next seen outside a house in Balrinnet, Co Kildare at 5.13pm. Gda Nolan agreed with prosecution counsel, Brendan Grehan SC, that the footage is to the east of Rahin Woods and was recorded one hour and three minutes after the last footage of the car at Grange West in Co Kildare. 


At 6.21pm, the blue car can be seen entering Browne's filling station in Kilcock, Co Kildare. A male wearing dark clothing goes behind the driver's seat of the car and spends a bit of time there, said Gda Nolan. 


The same male then approaches the till inside the shop and can be seen feeling his left wrist with his right hand. "It would appear that his left wrist is possibly bleeding and there is something dripping from his wrist onto the floor," said Mr Grehan. The shop assistant can be seen getting some tissue paper and walking to the front of the till. 


The blue car can be seen pulling out of the forecourt of the filling station and turning into the village of Kilcock.


The last piece of CCTV footage from August 10 is of an ambulance outside Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown at 7.39pm, where a paramedic is followed by a man wearing dark clothes with his left arm in a sling. Nurse Ajitha Thomas testified that the male patient had an injury to his left forearm. "I opened the wound and there was a lot of blood," she said. 


The trial continues this afternoon before Mr Justice Alexander Owens and the 12 jurors. 


In his opening address, prosecuting barrister Mr Grehan said that Mr Finnegan was last seen alive at a garage in Edenderry and Rahin Woods is only a few kilometres to the north of that location. The barrister said that the accused's car was next seen on CCTV footage an hour later at a point which was less than a ten minute drive away from where Mr Finnegan was last seen at Edenderry. 
 

 
 

"The prosecution case is that in that hour, Mr Finnegan went into the woods with Mr Penrose and met his particularly gruesome death. Mr Penrose having left the scene, presented himself at various premises pretending to be a victim of an attack by some unidentified persons," said Mr Grehan. 

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