Exclusive: Former Granard garda boss and chief investigating officer in Adrian Donohoe murder trial says "huge team effort" brought about conviction of Aaron Brady

Retired garda tells of receiving death threats during early stages of murder probe

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Adrian Donohoe

The late Det Garda Adrian Donohoe

A former Co Longford superintendent who was the chief investigating officer in the Adrian Donohoe murder trial has said justice has been served after Aaron Brady was today convicted of the late detective garda's capital murder.

Brian Mohan, who served as Granard superintendent for almost three years before retiring in January 2019, was one of three chief investigating officers on a case which turned out to be the longest trial in the State's history.

"It was without doubt one of the most difficult murder investigations I have ever been involved in," said Mr Mohan in an interview with the Leader this afternoon after the jury reached a majority verdict of 11 to 1 in favour of guilty after 20 hours of deliberations.

A skilled and vastly experienced officer in his own right, Mr Mohan told of how he had been assigned the onerous task of leading the hunt for Det Garda Donohoe's killer in October 2013 and only a matter of months after his own promotion to the rank of Inspector in Drogheda.

The Monaghan native told of how Brady, a 29-year-old criminal from Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, quickly became a person of interest barely hours after the fatal shooting of the father of two outside Lordship Credit Union in Co Louth in January 2013.

Mr Mohan said officers and close colleagues of his even called to Brady's home and other close associates who had been linked to a series of burglaries on both sides of the border in the lead up to the shooting.

"On the night of it (shooting) they were called on to see if they were at home," said Mr Mohan, who himself had already been involved in over 30 murder investigations prior to the Lordship Credit Union incident.

But this, unlike all those before was on a whole different scale, as the former Granard Garda chief alluded to.

"In a normal murder investigation, if there is such a thing, there would be anything between 300 to 500 lines of inquiry.

"With this there over 5,000 lines of inquiry, there were over 2,000 reports, there were years of CCTV to be reviewed, confidential reports, 3,000 witness statements and 1,200 exhibits."

Three months after the shooting, Brady boarded an American Airlines flight from Belfast to Newark airport in New Jersey as the pressure from an unrelenting garda investigation into the murder became too much.

In December, Mr Mohan together with other senior officers travelled to the US and quickly established links with both the New York Police Deparment and Homeland Security to "keep tabs" on Brady after it emerged the Armagh native was living in the Woodlawn area of the city.

"He was the prime suspect and that's what brought us out there," he said.

As events transpired, Mr Mohan's expertise and renown as a garda of indelible repute ultimately took him away from the case in 2016 after he was promoted to superintenent in Granard.

Had he remained on in the role, the former St McCartan's College graduate was in no doubt as to how the investigation would have unfolded.

"If I had have been there for a few more months I would have been able to complete the investigation," he said.

His take on the man now facing up to the next 40 years behind bars is as explicit as it is damning.

"I just think he (Brady) is a persistent liar who couldn't tell the truth and who clearly felt his lies were sufficient enough to get him off even in the face of all the evidence," he said.

But as has been his candour throughout his career, Mr Mohan was never one for rancour or lamentation and instead praised the "massive team effort" which brought about today's conviction.

"Nothing will bring Adrian back," he said. "But justice has been served and great credit must go to Caroline Donohoe, her children and the extended Donohoe family for their patience and understanding through all of this."

A sentence hearing will be held on 14 October when victim impact statements will be heard and where it is expected Brady will be sentenced to life in prison with a minimum tariff of 40 years.