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Murder conviction for killing of Brazilian man

The killing of a Brazilian man, resident in Gort, was outlined at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court last week, when a life prison sentence was imposed on the man convicted of his murder.

John Paul Cawley (22) of Ardoughter, Ballyduff, County Kerry had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bruno Lemes de Souza at Shronowen Bog, Tullamore, Listowel on February 16 or 17, 2012.

After an hour and 24 minutes deliberating, at the end of a seven day trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty on Friday last.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy sentenced Cawley to life, backdating the sentence to March 12, 2012, the date on which he was arrested. He has been in custody since.

The court heard how Bruno Lemes de Souza , a member of the large Brazilian community in Gort, had called to a house near Ballyduff in connection with a car deal in mid-February 2012. His body was recovered from a drain in a remote bog over three weeks later.

The killing of Mr de Souza had been “savage”, the prosecution said.

The set of facts the jury had to listen to was “one of the worst “in any murder in the history of the State, defence counsel had agreed in his closing speech to the jury.

There was little quarrel between the sides about what took place; what was at issue was whether John Paul Cawley, “a damaged man” with a lower than average IQ, particularly in the area of verbal reasoning, and social problem solving, and under the influence of another, was entitled to diminished responsibility under the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006 and to a conviction of manslaughter, defence counsel Anthony Sammon had told the jury.

However Conor Devally, SC for the prosectution, said “Mr Cawley was more than part of the team. He was a fully signed up player”.

One of a family of 11, John Paul Cawley , had been fostered from a young age, and was homeless until his sister, Sandra took him to live with her at Ardoughter, Ballyduff, along with her then partner, Brazilian man. Wenio Rodriguez da Silva, two children, aged one and two, one of whom was Mr da Silva’s.Charlie Cawley, a younger brother of the accused, also lived there.

It was his second trial – a conviction in 2013 was overturned on a single ground to do with the then trial judge’s direction to the jury.

Wenio da Silva, who was painted by defence counsel in this trial as the “commander” in the murder, was convicted at the time and that conviction stands.

Cawley had inflicted the first stab wound in the bog – but only that, and the remaining 63 stab wounds were inflicted in the bog drain by Wenio da Silva , (Cawley) he told gardaí.

Referring to the circumstance on the crime, prosecuting SC Conor Devally said three persons had “gone into the darkness” up a boggy lane. One of the men was being led by a rope. Two had knives.

“Three men went up a bog road, two with knives and one man with his hands tied..it was evident only two would come back,” he said.

Before being brought to the bog in the dead of night, Mr de Souza was held captive in the attic of the two storey house in Ardoughter, his hands tied to his feet with orange clothes line twine while another Brazilian man was downstairs explaining about the cost of air tickets to Brazil for a trip the whole household was planning.

Under guard in the attic by Charlie Cawley, when Mr de Souza asked for something to eat, yellow itchy insulation was stuffed into his mouth, the accused told gardaí.

Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margot Bolster took well over an hour to list the injuries to Mr de Souza. There were lacerations of the skull by a blunt weapon; consistent with a heavy torque wrench, 64 wounds or lacerations ,including through the Adams Apple, the jugular vein, the rib cage, lung, liver, left kidney and left ventricle of the heart. Six of the stab wounds were to the face and some 23 were in the neck and thorax.

The stab wounds were “from all sorts of directions” Dr Bolster said. Two knives could have been used to inflict the wounds, she said.

No real motivation was established for the savage murder.There was a suggestion that Wenio owed money; that the late Mr de Souza was going around the large Brazilian community in Gort , Ireland’s “Little Rio” saying Sandra Cawley was probably “hot”.

John Paul Cawley did not understand much of the conversations between Mr de Souza and Mr da Silva because they were “talking Brazilian” , the accused had told gardaí.

There appeared to be no motivation for the appalling killing, Cawley’s senior counsel Anthony Sammon said.

On the edge of a dyke, in the dark night, John Paul Cawley was the first to stab Bruno de Souza,he told gardaí when arrested. Asked a number of times why he had stabbed Mr de Souza, whom he had only met hours before, he replied “I don’t know”.

After Mr de Souza was reported missing, two detectives from Gort arrived in Kerry but were given a story designed to mislead them.

One of the chief witnesses for the prosecution was Sandra Cawley. She claimed she did not seek help for Mr de Souza, or co-operate with gardaí on the night because she was “petrified” of her former partner, Wenio.

Her sister, Martina and their mother, Elizabeth went to gardaí in Clonmel after John Paul, while drunk, told them what had taken place in Kerry.

An investigation headed up by then head of crime in Kerry, Inspector Dan Keane, now a Superintendent in Listowel, was launched.

Charlie Cawley led Kerry gardaí to the bog on March 10, 2012. John Paul Cawley was arrested on March 12, 2012. He has been in custody since.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy ruled as stated at the outset.

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