Clonmel man wiped blood stains with bleach as gardai sought search warrant for house, court told

Clonmel Courthouse

A 35 year-old Clonmel man refused to let gardai investigating an alleged assault into a house and mopped up blood stains  with bleach while gardai were waiting to secure a search warrant, Clonmel Circuit Court heard last week. 

Before the court was Ely Ahearne with an address at 31 Heywood Close, Clonmel, who pleaded guilty to obstruction of a Garda Siochana investigation on October 20, 2016. 

Sgt. Barry Boland gave evidence that a man made a 999 call on this date and reported that he had been assaulted with a meat cleaver at No. 30 Heywood Road, Clonmel.

 Gardai responded to the call and met the man who was bleeding on both sides of his head. He was brought to hospital where he received medical treatment. Sgt. Boland called to 30 Heywood Road and Ely Ahearne stuck his head out the window and told him to "f**k off" and warned him to stay away. 

Sgt. Boland said he directed two gardai to preserve the crime scene and he went to obtain a search warrant at a special sitting of Clonmel Court. While he was doing this, the two gardai outside the house saw Ahearne, through the window, mopping the floor inside the house with bleach.  Sgt. Boland said he returned to the house with the search warrant and with members of the Garda Armed Response Unit. They arrested Ahearne and discovered various blood stains in the house. Gardai also found the head of a mop in the stove in the living room. 

Det. Sgt. Boland added that gardai also recovered a bleach bottle and took swabs of the blood stains found in the house. Analysis of the blood confirmed that there was bleach  on it. Ahearne was arrested at 7.40pm that evening. He was questioned by gardai on four occasions but made no admissions.  The alleged injured party subsequently withdrew his statement of complaint to the Gardai. 

Defence barrister Justin Dillon SC said Ahearne very much regretted his conduct and requested Judge Tom Teehan for some mitigation in sentencing his client. While Ahearne's conduct couldn't be excused or condoned, it didn't doom the Garda investigation, he argued. His client didn't obliterate all the crime scene evidence and there was an ample amount of blood at the scene. 

He submitted that his client was on drugs at the time and dealing with the failing health of his mother, who died shortly afterwards.

Mr Dillon pointed out that his client had made attempts to conquer his addiction problems and presented letters from a number of addiction treatment centres. 

Judge Teehan adjourned the case to Nenagh Circuit Criminal Court sitting of February 20 for sentencing and remanded Ahearne in custody to appear before that court sitting.