The ex-girlfriend of a man accused of the robbery at Lordship Credit Union during which Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was murdered has told the Special Criminal Court that her then-partner was at home in Armagh on the night of the raid.
Charlene O’Callaghan gave evidence at the non-jury court on Tuesday that she told gardaí she spoke to one of two co-accused men, her then boyfriend Brendan Treanor, at their house in Tullydonnell, Co Armagh just before she left to get a takeaway ten minutes from their home on the night of January 25th, 2013. The witness can be seen on CCTV entering the takeaway in Crossmaglen and ordering food at 10.05pm.
Det Gda Donohoe was shot dead at around 9.30pm on the night of January 25th, 2013.
Mr Treanor (34), previously of Emer Terrace, Castletown Road, Dundalk, Co Louth, and James Flynn (32), from South Armagh, are charged with the robbery of €7,000 at Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Co Louth, on January 25th, 2013.
Both men are also charged that between September 11th, 2012, and January 23rd, 2013, they conspired with convicted Garda-killer Aaron Brady and others to enter residential premises with the intention of stealing car keys. They have pleaded not guilty to each charge.
Ms O’Callaghan told Brendan Grehan SC, prosecuting, that she came home to Tullydonnell from her hairdressing business in Dundalk, Co Louth, at around 9.15pm after having hair extensions put in after finishing work.
She said she was in a relationship with Mr Treanor for around four years between 2012 and 2016 and that they had been living together at the Tullydonnell address.
She claimed after she arrived home at 9.15pm, she went upstairs to watch television and took a shower before leaving to get food for herself and Mr Treanor.
Ms O’Callaghan said Mr Treanor was present in the house before she left to go to a takeaway in Crossmaglen, which was 10 minutes away, and had spoken to him about what he wanted to eat before she left.
The court then viewed CCTV of Superbites takeaway in Crossmaglen, where Ms O’Callaghan can be seen entering the premises and ordering food at 10.05pm before she left at around 10.17pm.
Ms O’Callaghan said she drove straight home and that Mr Treanor told her he had dropped his phone into the bath while washing their dogs.
The witness said the first time she saw Mr Treanor in the house was after she took her shower and watched television but could not remember what he was wearing.
Ms O’Callaghan said she did not witness Mr Treanor dropping his phone into the bath but told Mr Grehan that he was in possession of the phone on January 25th, 2013.
Mr Grehan asked who were Mr Treanor’s friends at the time and was told by the witness that Aaron Brady and James Flynn were his friends along with another man not before the court.
Ms O’Callaghan said the couple had to move out of the house for a period of time in the aftermath of the shooting because of a threat to Mr Treanor.
She told Sean Guerin SC, for Mr Treanor, she remembered telling gardaí in her statement that she tried to dry out the phone with her hairdryer and that the sim card did not work.
Ms O’Callaghan told Mr Guerin that about 10 minutes after returning from the takeaway, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) called to their address to do a bail check on Mr Treanor regarding a separate matter.
The witness said she accepted Mr Guerin’s suggestion that when she spoke to Mr Treanor about the food, that it could have been approximately 9.45pm.
Mr Guerin said the pair had a landline internet access at the address at the time and that if anyone was using that connection to access a Facebook account at around 8pm on the night in question it could not have been Ms O’Callaghan and had to be Mr Treanor, to which the witness agreed.
Brady (32), previously of New Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, is serving a life sentence with a 40-year minimum having been found guilty of murdering Det Gda Donohoe and of the robbery at Lordship. He denied any involvement in the robbery and is awaiting an appeal against his conviction.
The trial continues before presiding judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt, Judge Sarah Berkeley and Judge Alan Mitchell.