A husband accused of murdering his wife spoke to his friend on the night of her death and told him: “Sorry, I killed Anne and now I’m going to kill myself,” the Central Criminal Court has heard.
he accused was also upset that his wife wanted a divorce and told his friend that she had accused him of being controlling and of not being there for her when she had an operation, the trial jury also heard yesterday.
Ralph Comendador said he was friends with the accused man Renato Gehlen and the deceased Anne Colomines. He said he spoke many times with Mr Gehlen about the break-up of their marriage after Ms Colomines revealed that she wanted a divorce in late September 2017.
Mr Comendador told prosecution counsel Shane Costelloe SC that the accused told him about an argument he had with his wife after he discovered she wasn’t wearing her wedding ring. Mr Comendador remembered his friend saying Ms Colomines had told her husband she wanted a divorce because he was “controlling” and wasn’t there for her during the operation. She also complained about his playing video games and said he had blamed her “because he wanted to have a baby”.
The witness also told the trial that on the night Ms Colomines died he received a message from Mr Gehlen saying: “The same s*** man. No talk. Cold and avoiding. F***, I really want to stab.” When the witness later spoke to the accused, Mr Gehlen told him: “Sorry, I killed Anne and now I’m going to kill myself.”
Mr Gehlen (39), a Brazilian national, has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife Anne Colomines (37), a French national, at their home in Dorset Square, Gardiner Street upper, Dublin 1 on October 25, 2017.
Mr Comendador said he spoke with Mr Gehlen almost every day about the marriage break-up and tried to give advice to his friend. Mr Gehlen, he said, wanted to save the marriage and was upset. The witness said: “He told me he tried to talk to her and wanted to talk to her but she didn’t want to talk to him about it.”
In October 2017 Ms Colomines went to France and on October 16 she messaged Mr Comendador to ask him to check on Mr Gehlen. She told Mr Comendador that she was afraid because Mr Gehlen had told her he would commit suicide. When Ms Colomines returned to Ireland on October 23, Mr Gehlen collected her from the airport in what the witness said was an attempt to save the marriage.
When Mr Comendador spoke to his friend that night, Mr Gehlen was again upset and said Ms Colomines still wanted a divorce and wouldn’t talk to him.
The following night the witness met Mr Gehlen and they went to the Turk’s Head in Temple Bar. The witness described Mr Gehlen as “more upset than usual”. He was crying, something the witness had never seen him do before, and “talking about giving up on life and killing himself.”
At about 7.30pm they left the Turk’s Head, walked around Temple Bar and then Mr Gehlen left for home. Mr Comendador called Ms Colomines to tell her that Mr Gehlen was upset and then called Mr Gehlen to tell him not to start an argument and to remain calm.
At 8.43pm Mr Comendador said he received a Facebook message from Mr Gehlen saying: “The same shit man. No talk. Cold and avoiding. F***, I really want to stab.”
Mr Comendador responded by saying, “What? Chill out, bro!”
The witness said he tried to call his friend and some time shortly after 11pm he spoke to Mr Gehlen on the phone. He said Mr Gehlen told him: “Sorry, I killed Anne and now I’m going to kill myself.” Mr Gehlen hung up and Mr Comendador tried to ring him back. He tried Ms Colomines’s phone and then a mutual friend who lived nearby. He also called emergency services as he made his way towards Mr Gehlen and Ms Colomines’ home on Dorset Square.
Mr Comendador directed gardai and the Dublin Fire Brigade to the apartment but did not go in. He later gave a statement to gardai and gave them access to his phone and Facebook messages.
Under cross examination Mr Comendador said it was not possible that Mr Gehlen had actually said, “I guess I killed Anne”, rather than, “I killed Anne”.
The trial continues in front of Mr Justice Michael MacGrath and a jury of five women and seven men.