A man accused of the murder of a garda who was shot dead in Co Louth seven years ago lied to the gardaí on several occasions and gave a false alibi, the Central Criminal Court has heard.
Aaron Brady from New Road, Crossmaglen in Co Armagh has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe and to a second charge of robbing €7,000 in cash and cheques on 25 January 2013 at the Lordship Credit Union.
Senior Counsel Brendan Grehan outlined in his opening statement to the jury the facts of the case and why the prosecution says Aaron Brady is guilty of the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Dononhoe
The detective was on escort duty for the delivery of cash from four Carlingford peninsula credit unions on Friday 25 January, 2013.
As they were escorting two cars with over €34,000 in cash out of the Lordship Credit Union a car blocked the exit and four "athletic young men" in balaclavas appeared.
Two of them armed with a shotgun and a handgun went directly "with determination and without hesitation" to the Garda car.
Adrian Donohoe got out to see what was blocking the way and was, Mr Grehan said "blasted in the face with a shotgun." He died instantly, his own weapon still in its holster.
His colleague, Detective Garda Joe Ryan was pinned in the driver's seat with two guns pointed at him and told "I'll f***ing kill you, don't move, I'll shoot."
One of the other raiders grabbed a bag with €7,000 in cash and cheques from Credit Union employee Pat Bellew, but the other raider smashed one of the other car’s windows and stole another employee’s handbag, instead of the €27,000 in the other employee’s car.
The robbery and murder lasted 58 seconds. The raiders headed west towards the border and the stolen car they used was later found burned out in South Armagh.
Senior Counsel Brendan Grehan described it to the jury as "a very slick operation, highly organised, with a lot of people working together as a team".
It was, he said "done for money, nothing else. There is no suggestion of a connection with any cause".
The prosecution says evidence will be presented linking Aaron Brady, who was 21 at the time, to the crime.
He said by his own account Aaron Brady spent the day entirely with two other men in their 20s, one of whom's car was noted driving past the Credit Union on the day. The passenger window was down as it passed and rolled back up immediately after.
Phones belonging to the three mens he said were active during the day of the murder but "curiously," Aaron Brady' s and the other two mens' phones all go "off radar" shortly after 8pm until 10.30pm.
There was he said a "telecommunications blackout" immediately before, during and after the robbery and walkie talkies appear to have been the method of communication.
The prosecution also says that Aaron Brady was "under money pressure" coming up to the weekend and indicated "it would be solved" after the weekend.
Mr Grehan also said that Mr Brady "lied" about where he was to the gardaí; he claimed to be with someone else and he called others to cover for him "to give him a false alibi".
He also said Mr Brady lied about other things and just before the trial his solicitor put forward a new alibi that he was in a yard in South Armagh. The prosecution says this is also a lie.
On the day of the robbery and murder Aaron Brady he said was sending texts on the phone saying he would be "busy" between 8pm and 10pm.
Mr Grehan also told the jury that Aaron Brady left Ireland shortly after the murder and robbery and went to the USA.
He settled in New York "believing he was beyond the reach of the law" and had "various conversations with people" there.
The prosecution told the jury they will be satisfied upon hearing the evidence that Aaron Brady is guilty of robbery and the "capital murder" of Adrian Donohoe.
The 28-year-old year old has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The trial continues tomorrow.