By DIARMAID MacDERMOTT
Wednesday July 07 1999
STATE witness Russell Warren told the Special Criminal Court yesterday that he continued working for a drugs gang leader after the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin because he was afraid. STATE witness Russell Warren told the Special Criminal Court yesterday that he continued working for a drugs gang leader after the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin because he was afraid.
Warren admitted that his activity in delivering hundreds of thousands of pounds to the continent for the gang leader, Mr A, ``became more intense'' in the months after the journalist's murder.
Questioned why he continued working for Mr A who allegedly ordered the murder, Warren replied: ``I was afraid not to. If I had left or tried to leave I don't think I'd be sitting here today. You can't say no to him.''
Warren has told the court he was the ``bagman'' for Mr A and provided the stolen motorbike used in the murder of Ms Guerin. He also said that the bike was collected on the day of the murder by Brian Meehan, who is on trial for the Guerin murder.
It was the nineteenth day of the trial of Brian Meehan (34), of no fixed abode, and formerly of Clifton Court, Dublin and Stanaway Road, Crumlin, Dublin, who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ms Guerin (36) at Naas Road, Clondalkin, Dublin, on June 26, 1996.
Meehan also denies sixteen other charges alleging that he unlawfully imported cannabis resin into the State on various dates between July 1, 1994 and October 6, 1996.
Cross-examined by Meehan's counsel, John McCrudden QC, Warren admitted that Meehan said to him during a conversation at a pub in Harold's Cross after the murder that Mr A ``had everybody in a mess because he had got Veronica Guerin killed''.
He also admitted that he was told to threaten two other friends of his that anyone who said anything about the stolen motorbike would be dead.
Warren said he believed Meehan was involved in the murder because he gave him the bike and because Meehan test drove the bike the night before the murder.
He said that no one had been paid for the bike which he identified as a motorbike gardai had recovered in parts from the river Liffey and which had been reassembled.
He said he did not know that anyone was going to be murdered when he followed a red Opel Calibra from Naas towards Dublin. Warren told Mr McCrudden that after he saw what happened he ``just felt sick. My legs would not work''.
Warren said that he had never been visited in prison by an official from the Department of Justice and said nobody had negotiated on his behalf.
The trial continues today.
- DIARMAID MacDERMOTT