A 28-year-old man accused of the murder of a garda in Co Louth seven years ago has told the Central Criminal Court this morning he did not kill him.
Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was shot dead on duty at the Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan on 25 January 2013.
Aaron Brady from New Road, Crossmaglen in Co Armagh has pleaded not guilty to the murder.
He also denies a second charge of robbing €7,000 in cash and cheques on the same date and at the same location.
Mr Brady took the stand in the Central Criminal Court this morning to testify in his own defence.
He was questioned by his own senior counsel, Michael O'Higgins. He was asked if he killed Det Garda Donohoe.
"No, I did not," he replied.
He was then asked if he participated in a robbery with some class of firearm.
Again, he replied: "No, I did not."
Mr O'Higgins then asked Mr Brady if he had admitted to killing Det Garda Donohoe. "No, never," he replied.
Mr Brady also said that on the night of the murder he was involved in diesel laundering at a yard on the Concession Road in Co Armagh.
Brady admits lying to gardaí
Mr Brady admitted he lied to gardaí about his whereabouts at the time of the murder of Det Garda Donohoe.
He told the Central Criminal Court today he was stopped by gardaí the following day.
Mr Brady said he told them he had been at his girlfriend's home that evening on 25 January 2013 between 7pm and 3am the following morning.
"I knew it to be lies," he admitted today.
Mr Brady said that he lied because he did not want to alert gardaí to the fact that he was involved in diesel laundering that evening.
"I shouldn't have lied," he said today. "But I had nothing to do with the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe."
Mr Brady told the court that he had previously had a row with his girlfriend when she came home from a nightclub and he saw her wearing another man's baseball cap.
He said he overreacted completely and he got angry. "I was acting like a complete gobshite over a baseball cap," he said.
The next day, he said, he wanted to get over to his girlfriend and "sort the relationship out" and "to fix the relationship".
He said he may have been in a BMW that stopped at a petrol station near Lordship and drove past the credit union on the day of the murder, but he said while he had "no recollection" of being in that car, "there was no casing of the Lordship Credit Union" before any planned robbery that night.
"I played no part in the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe"
Mr Brady outlined his involvement in diesel laundering that night. He said he was driven to the yard, jumped over the gate, started a forklift with a can of easy start and loaded cubes of diesel laundering waste into a trailer.
His friend then collected him, he had a shower and his friend dropped him to his girlfriend's house where he said he watched TV with her until 3am.
His friend then collected him, he said, they went to his house and slept in the same bed that night because his mother was "particular about the spare room".
His senior counsel put it to him that the prosecution case was that after the murder and robbery, the getaway car was burned out at Comson’s Lane in Co Armagh.
"I was not anywhere near Comson's Lane in my life," he said. "I played no part in the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe or the robbery of the Lordship Credit Union."
It was put to him that his phone was off during the time of the robbery and that he was not in contact with three other suspects because he was with them at the time.
"Absolutely not …not true," he replied. "I played no part in the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe."
He said his phone was out of charge.
A text from him to his girlfriend was read to the court where he said: "Just have to load the lorry, will only take an hour or two, this phone is going to go dead, love you."
This, he said, related to the fact that he was loading the lorry with the diesel cubes and the charge on the phone was running low.
Mr Brady has described a witness who testified in his murder trial that Brady had told him he had shot a garda in Ireland as "a lying psychopath".
Daniel Cahill has given evidence that Mr Brady told him this on three separate occasions in New York, twice at a bar in the city and once at a house party.
"I never said to Daniel Cahill that I shot anybody or murdered anybody" the 28-year-old told the Central Criminal Court today, "He is a liar."
Mr Brady said he was afraid of Mr Cahill because he had attacked him in his apartment in New York on St Patrick's Day 2015.
The court heard a group of men attacked Mr Brady because it was alleged that Brady and another man had "a threesome" with a girl who was going out with Daniel Cahill's friend.
Mr Brady said today that Mr Cahill threatened to cut off his toes during the attack.
Mr Brady said even though it was St Patrick's Day he had not been drinking because he had to get up for work early the next morning. He worked in construction earning as much as $65 an hour.
When it was put to Mr Brady that Mr Cahill denied the attack, he replied "I swear on my son's life that Daniel Cahill was in my apartment that night and he is a lying psychopath".
Daniel Cahill testified the first time Mr Brady told him he had shot a garda in Ireland was after he had been attacked in The Coachman's Bar in New York and was in the bathroom cleaning his wounds.
However, Mr Brady said today that he did not think he was alone with Mr Cahill, there were at least three other people in the bathroom with him, and he did not say he was going to shoot the man who attacked him or that he had shot a garda.
He also described as "ridiculous" today, Mr Cahill's evidence that the second time Mr Brady said he shot the garda was when he was drunk and crying in the bar.
"I wouldn't be sitting by myself," he said today, "definitely not in the Coachman's".
He also denied he made admissions about the murder in a New York apartment. "I was never in that apartment," he said today, "and only in that man's company once and nothing like that ever happened".
In response to Mr Cahill's claim that he stopped Cahill in a car and showed him a copy of a newspaper article about the murder, he said "I would never have stopped Daniel Cahill in a car to show him anything. I didn't even know about that article until it came to court".
The trial continues.