A sister and brother who were having a picnic with their family in the Dublin mountains have described finding part of the body of 61-year-old Patricia O'Connor in June 2017.

Christine and Jonathan Murphy were giving evidence in the trial of 34-year-old Kieran Greene who denies murdering Mrs O'Connor, his partner's mother, on 29 May, 2017.

Mrs O'Connor's daughter, Louise, granddaughter, Stephanie and Stephanie's father Keith Johnston have all pleaded not guilty to impeding the apprehension or prosecution of Mr Greene.

Keith Johnston; Stephanie and Louise O'Connor in court (Image: Mike O'Donnell)

Christine Murphy told the Central Criminal Court she had been with her family in the Dublin mountains for a day out. 

They had stopped that evening in an area known as "Old Boley" near the Sally Gap to have a picnic.

She had returned to one of the cars to get a baby wipe. She said that as she was heading back towards her family, she came across something "just over the bank" at the side of the road.

She said she did not know what it was and described it at the time as "looking like a piece of pig". She pointed it out to her sister-in-law. 

Later on when the whole family returned to their cars, they found one of the cars had been broken into and a handbag stolen. As they all tried to find the handbag, Christine said she saw "the torso" again, in the same position and called her brother Jonathan over to look at it. Their aunt called the gardaí.

Patricia O'Connor's body parts were found in January 2018

Jonathan Murphy said his sister pointed out the item to him and he saw it was an "upper torso from the ribs to the neck" with part of the arms. He called other members of the family over. 

Gardaí arrived, spoke to the family and took photographs of the footwear everyone was wearing and they then went home, he said.

Earlier, a number of gardaí gave evidence of photographing various scenes and items connected with the investigation into the death of Mrs O'Connor. 

The places where body parts were found were photographed, along with a shallow grave near Kilmuckridge in Co Wexford and an area near the Dodder River in Tallaght where two hacksaws and a hatchet were found in January 2018.

Christine and Jonathan Murphy's aunt Breda Kenny gave evidence that she had seen the remains while looking for the stolen handbag.  

But she said she had discounted them as animal remains.  

She said her niece and nephew called her back to look again. She said the family decided to call the gardaí and were quite alarmed and distressed.  

They were not exactly sure what they had found, she said, but they were pretty certain. She said they had to wait for gardaí to arrive and were trying to keep the young children who were with them away from the scene. 

Sergeant Brendan Maher described arriving at the scene and seeing the remains opposite the driver's door of his car. He said the torso was around three metres from the road, two metres down the embankment and he wasn't expecting to see the remains so close to the road.  

He told the court he would have thought if you were dumping a body, you would have gone further. He said his impression was that someone had stood on the bank and "chucked it". 

Noel Ruane told the court he went for a drive and a walk with his partner near the Sally Gap when they saw what looked like human organs in a river. They initially dismissed what they had seen but the following day when they heard human remains had been discovered, they returned and showed the remains to gardaí.  

Mr Ruane said he had seen something "that looked like a stomach" in the river. A doctor gave evidence of identifying human remains at the location and at a number other locations near Military Road in Enniskerry in Co Wicklow.

The court heard Mrs O'Connor was identified through dental records.

The trial will continue tomorrow.