Shauneen said she went mad and jumped on his head, friend of murder accused tells jury
A murder trial has heard how a woman accused of killing a man whose body was dumped in a wheelie bin 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 Owen Creaney's murder over two years ago at a house in Lurgan, and blame each other for the attack.
The trial at Belfast Crown Court previously heard that Mr Creaney was subjected to a "deliberate and frenzied attack" 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 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 the 40-year-old victim was cleaned, showered and put on a sofa in an upstairs bedroom of a house where two young children were living at the time.
Yesterday, on the second day of the trial, a lifelong friend of Shauneen Boyle gave a statement to the jury about the events of July 4 and 5 in 2014.
Mairead McGuigan said that while at work she got a text message from Shauneen Boyle on July 4, 2015, which said: "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 explained.
"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' 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," she added.
The witness said she called at Hughes' house at Moyraverty Court, Craigavon, at 9.35pm and sat on a sofa next to Boyle while Hughes stood 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 when I heard noises and realised Owen Creaney was up the stairs.
"Shauneen said he had been sleeping for 28 hours. She said he had been drinking and was drunk. I went to see where he was. 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, 'Get the police, this man has a broken rib'. Shauneen said Stephen was afraid of police coming to the house."
The witness told the jury the pair had told her that after the fight they showered Mr Creaney "to try and bring him round". "They said they changed him and washed his clothes," she added.
Ms McGuigan went 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, July 5, 2014. In one text message, she claimed Boyle asked her if she had any petrol. She replied her car was diesel, to which Boyle texted back: "Does it burn?"
Ms McGuigan said she asked about Owen Creaney and Boyle replied: "He is dead."
She said that during the phone call, she overheard a conversation between Boyle and Hughes about an empty wheelie bin.
The witness said that after the phone call 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 Stephen Hughes was by her side when you were in the house?," she was asked. Ms McGuigan 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.