Facebook details relayed to jury in city murder trial

The late Martin Brophy.

The late Martin Brophy.

A jury in the trial of a Waterford man charged with murdering Martin Brophy has heard that a Facebook message from what was believed to be the accused said “I beat him to death (with) a cinder block around 10 times off the head and gave him the American History X job”.

William Moran (20) of Connolly Place, Waterford City is charged with murdering Martin Brophy (22) at the old Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) building between May 19 and May 21st 2012.

Mr Moran has pleaded not guilty to the charge and is currently on trial at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin.

Taking to the stand on Friday last, Stephen Dundon told Michael Delaney SC prosecuting that he knew the accused in 2012.

Mr Delaney asked if he had a Facebook account in 2012 and if he chatted with anyone on May 20th, 2012.
“I did – (chat) with a few people. I can’t remember everybody – William Patrick Moran the accused.”

When asked if he recalled what the conversation was about Mr Dundon replied “about playing Playstation, about going out and the assault”.

When asked what was said he replied “that he hit him with a block”.

Mr Delaney asked where this had happened to which Mr Dundon replied “the drinking spot – the old warehouse”.

The court heard that on May 20th, 2012, a message sent from the Facebook page of William Moran to Stephen Dundon said “I gave that fella an old bad one. Serious he got it haha”.

When asked “why” on Facebook, the reply from William Morans Facebook page was “Got too cheeky – way too cheeky. He said he was gonna slit me cousins throat. And kept saying he was gonna bate me – I think he’s dead no word of a lie.”

Mr Dundon confirmed that he had asked “watcha do to him” to which the account of William Moran had replied “Wouldn’t say a thing like that on this. The guards can get into people’s page – lads tell me worse stuff than this.”

“He was in there on his own drinking. He’s some foll fool.”

“I beat him to death with a cinder block around 10 times off the head and gave him the American History X job.”

Under cross examination by Colman Cody SC defending Stephen Dundon confirmed that his Facebook account had previously been hacked.

“In relation to your own history with Facebook, have you ever had any difficulties with Facebook – was there a time where somebody hacked into your account?”

“That has happened. I never found out who it was. I tried to log on and couldn’t.”

Mr Cody added that another way it can be interfered with is if a person doesn’t log out of their account which means anyone with access to the device would be able to log onto the account, access a person’s Facebook and proceed to conduct Facebook conversations pretending to be that person.

“Would it be fair to say when having these conversations you believed at the time were with a person having the username William Moran, isn’t it possible the person you were speaking to wasn’t William Moran?”

“Yes could be”, said Mr Dundon.

Under re-examination by Mr Delaney, Mr Dundon confirmed that he had acted swiftly when he realised someone had taken over his page and agreed that he would expect anyone else to do the same.

Taking to the stand, cousin of the accused Danielle Moran confirmed with Michael Delaney SC prosecuting that on May 20th, 2012, she had been on Facebook.

“A message came up on Facebook page of William Moran,” said Miss Moran.

“There was an argument and then a fight.”

When asked who the fight was with Miss Moran replied “a person called Skip”. When asked if she had responded she said “I think I said is he in hospital”.

The court heard that two days later, Miss Moran had a conversation with her father. “I remember my dad said the accused was after being arrested on suspicion of a death.”

When asked who had died, she replied “Skip”. Miss Moran said she got her laptop and opened the Facebook message which referred to a fight with Skip.

“The person who wrote to me said I had an argument with Skip and my father was after telling me Skip was after dying.”

“You were checking the name with the one you had been given by your father,” said Mr Delaney to which she replied “yes”.

Mr Delaney read a Facebook message to the court that said “I think he’s 90 per cent dead cuz tbh. He got what he deserved. I gave him the American History X job – I put his teeth on the kerb and slammed his face.”

Under cross examination by Colman Cody, Miss Moran agreed that the message received from username William Moran could have been sent by anybody.

Taking to the stand, Detective Garda Seamus Halpin of Waterford Garda Station Crime Unit confirmed that in January 2013, he received a disk from Facebook through mutual assistance with the accounts of Ray Connolly, Gavin Walsh, Stephen Dundon and William Moran detailed on it.

The trial before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of four women and eight men continues.

Anne Sharkey

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