A food delivery cyclist accused of murdering schoolboy Josh Dunne during a stand-off over a stolen bicycle broke down as he told his trial that he considers himself a good person and that his intention was never to hurt anyone.
George Gonzaga Bento told the Central Criminal Court today that Josh and another youth had "come for" and attacked him, and that he tried to defend himself.
He also told the trial that he had encountered violence and intimidation during his work but his reaction was "always avoid and always try to go away".
"I don't come here to make problems, I came here to work. My intention is to do something good and never something bad," he said.
Mr Bento, 36, a Brazilian national with an address in East Wall in Dublin 3, is charged with murdering 16-year-old Josh Dunne at East Wall Road, East Wall on 26 January 2021.
Mr Bento is also accused of producing a utility knife in a manner likely to intimidate another in the course of a dispute or fight. The defendant is further accused of assault causing harm to two other young men on the same occasion.
The delivery cyclist has pleaded not guilty to each of the four counts.
The prosecution alleges that Mr Bento produced a knife during a "stand-off or confrontation" with a man on a moped who had stolen another delivery cyclist's bike.
Josh Dunne and other youths arrived at the scene and got involved in the confrontation.
Mr Bento told gardaí in his interviews that he had used a knife to defend himself from the man on the moped and the gang of youths. He said it was only his intention to intimidate them when he took out the knife and make them go away.
He said he stabbed the first and second males who punched and attacked him as he was scared and wanted to protect himself.
Taking the stand this afternoon, the father-of-two said he came to Ireland in February 2019 and that he studied English when he arrived.
He worked as a food cyclist during the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the accused said the only problem was that "some guys" would deliberately attack him by throwing stones and eggs, which had happened up to eight times.
Recalling 26 January, the defendant said he was outside McDonald's in East Wall waiting for deliveries when he saw a man on a moped steal a bike.
He broke down as he told the jury that his intention was never to hurt someone but rather to try to stop something bad happening.
Mr Bento said he asked his fellow delivery cyclist Guilherme Quieroz that night if he had seen what happened and they looked for the owner of the bike but could not find anyone.
He said he thought if the two of them approached the man on the moped then he would be afraid, leave the bike and go away.
He said the man on the moped kicked his bicycle and was shouting "bad words" at him.
"He told me 'I know you. I saw you always in McDonald's so it sounded like a threat'," he said.
The defendant said that the man got off his moped at one point and pretended to get something "in the back", "something like a knife to attack us".
At this point Mr Bento said he took out his knife, which he used for cutting fruit, and showed it to the man on the moped.
The accused said he saw a gang of youths arrive on the other side of the street and he told Mr Quieroz that it was not worth it and it was time to go. However, the man on the moped said "one phrase" to the gang for them to follow him.
The man on the moped tried to punch Mr Quieroz, he said, and then "a lot of guys" joined him.
Mr Bento said he tried to show the knife to get them to go away as he did not want conflict.
He said he was more afraid about the number of people around them and that he did not care about the stolen bicycle.
He said he believed that he could be very badly hurt or killed and tried to escape the situation.
He said he tried to pull Mr Quieroz away and escape but they kept coming at Mr Quieroz.
"I was afraid for his life and my life as well," he said.
Mr Quieroz had told the trial that before Josh Dunne was stabbed, he and Mr Bento were attacked by a group when they tried to retrieve a stolen bicycle. He said that having viewed CCTV footage of the incident, he now knows that Mr Bento twice came to save him - once when the witness had his back up against a wall and was being punched and a second time when he was "dragged" to the road and punched.
Asked if he had an intention to kill anyone that night, Mr Bento said it was "never in my mind".
He said what happened to Josh was very sad.
"It was not my intention to do something bad and when I saw the news I was very very sorry for his family," he said.
The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Paul Burns and the 12 jurors, when it is expected that the accused will be cross-examined by prosecution counsel Sean Guerin SC.