THE jury on the Owen Creaney murder trial heard on Tuesday how one of the accused rang a friend and told her she had “gone mad and jumped on his head and stomach” following an argument.
Stephen Thomas Hughes (29) and Shauneen Boyle (25) are jointly charged with Mr Creaney’s murder over two years ago at a house in Craigavon and blame each other for the attack.
The trial at Belfast Crown Court had previously heard that Mr Creaney was subjected to a “deliberate and frenzied attack’’ and then “unceremoniously dumped’’ in a green wheelie bin after it took two days for him to die from his injuries.
A state pathologist concluded that Mr Creaney had died as a result of blunt force trauma to his chest and head. His injuries included 15 broken ribs and a fractured breastbone as well as bleeding of and tearing to the brain.
The court was told that the 40-year-old victim was cleaned, showered and placed on a sofa in an upstairs bedroom of a house where two young children were living at the time.
Today, on the second day of the trial, a life long friend of Shauneen Boyle gave evidence to the jury of seven men and five women about the events of Friday, July 4 and Saturday, July 5, 2014.
Mairead McGuigan told the jury that while at work she received a text message from Shauneen Boyle on Friday, July 4 2014 which stated: ‘I am in trouble’.
The witness said that she later phoned Boyle. “She said she was in Craigavon, she was drinking and she had got into a fight with a fella. She said his name was Owen but I didn’t know who she was talking about.
“She said she got into a fight with Owen, she had went mad, she had beat a fella up after getting into an argument and she jumped on his stomach and his head. She might have said that he was in a bad way.
“She said there was blood all over his face. She said his face was busted open.”
Ms McGuigan said Boyle phoned her around 9pm and asked her to call round to Stephen Hughes’s house after work.
“She asked me to bring round my hoover and my carpet cleaner as she said there was a stain on the white carpet.”
The witness said she called to Hughes’s house at Moyraverty Court, Craigavon, around 9.35 pm and told prosecution counsel Liam McCollum QC that she took a seat on the sofa in the living next to Boyle while Hughes remained standing in front of them. Boyle’s one year old son was in a pram facing the sofa.
Asked what Boyle and Hughes were doing, Ms McGuigan replied: “They were drinking. Shauneen said: ‘I got into a fight with Owen Creaney over my dad’.
“Stephen said nothing. I asked him why he didn’t break it up. He said he was afraid and said he had got his blinds broken.
“I was about to leave at that stage when I heard noises up the stairs and realised Owen Creaney was up the stairs.
“Shauneen said he was up the stairs and had been sleeping for 28 hours. She said he had been drinking and was drunk.
“I went to see where he was. Shauneen went first, I went second and Stephen followed behind. Shauneen pushed open the bedroom door and I could see owen Creaney lying on the sofa.
“He was making funny breathing noises, like heavy breathing. Shauneen said he was sleeping. He was like bruised with yellow bruising. There was foam coming out of his mouth.
“The smell in the room was disgusting. It nearly made me sick. His trousers were all wet. I said: ‘There is something not right. He has a broken rib. You need to get him an ambulance’ but they wouldn’t listen. They wouldn’t do it. They wouldn’t phone for an ambulance.
“I told them to get the police, that this man has a broken rib. Shauneen said Stephen was afraid of the police coming to the house. I said he definitely has a broken rib and she said owen had drank a litre of vodka and was lying sleeping.”
The witness told the jury that the pair had told her that following the fight, they showered Mr Creaney ‘to try and bring him round’. They said they changed him and washed his clothes.
Ms McGuigan left the property to go and go for a drive with a male friend and told him what had happened.
The witness said she and Boyle were in contact by phone the following morning, Saturday, July 5, 2014. In one text message, she claimed Boyle asked her if she had ‘any petrol’. She replied that her car was diesel, to which Boyle responded by text asking: ‘Does it burn?’
Ms McGuigan said she asked Boyle about Owen Creaney, to which Boyle replied: ‘He is dead’. “I said: ‘Get that man to the hospital now’.
“Shauneen said: ‘It’s too late. There is nothing more we can do for him’. But I don’t think she was telling the truth.”
She said that during the phonecall, she overheard a conversation between Boyle and Hughes talking about an ‘empty wheelie bin’.
The witness said that after the phonecall ended, she contacted her father, adding: “After that I went to the police.”
Defence counsel Johh Kearney QC told the witness that Boyle did not dispute that she had told her that she had “assaulted this man Owen”.
“Can you confirm that Stephen Hughes was indeed by her side when you were in the house?”
Ms McGuigang replied: “Yes’’.
Mr Kearney QC said: “He was pretty much there by her side in the living, downstairs, upstairs and downstairs. Is that right?”
Ms McGuigan replied: “Yes.”
The defence QC said: “I suggest to you that a text she sent to you made it clear that at the time she had not done it... she was making it clear to you that she had nothing in fact to do with it.”
In answer, the witness said: “I can’t remember that. All I was told was that the man was dead.”
Both Hughes - whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry and Boyle, from Edenderry Park, Banbridge, Co Down were remanded back into custody.