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Lynn’s wife asked Irish embassy for aid when he was sick in Brazil jail
Ex-solicitor Michael Lynn with his wife Brid Murphy, leaving Criminal Courts of Justice on Friday 13 May Pic: RollingNews.ie

20 May 2022 / courts Print

Wife asked for embassy aid when Lynn was ill in jail

The wife of former solicitor Michael Lynn has told his multi-million-euro trial yesterday (19 May) that she didn't know whether he was “dead or alive” for five days after he went into a Brazilian prison.

Brid Murphy was in the witness box on day 47 of the trial of her husband, who is accused of stealing approximately €27 million from seven financial institutions.

Lynn (53) of Millbrook Court, Red Cross, Co Wicklow has pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of theft in Dublin between 23 October 2006 and 20 April 2007.

Murphy told the court how she first met Mr Lynn in 2000 in Portobello after a match. They met again in 2004 and, after three months of dating, he proposed marriage.

She was working as an ICU nurse in St Vincent’s Hospital in south Dublin at the time, and the couple began living in a house directly across from the hospital.

Glen Lion paperwork

Murphy told the court that, in 2007, the Glen Lion property in Howth was purchased, but they never lived there. When asked if she had met any bankers regarding the purchase of the property, she replied “no”, and that her only involvement was signing the ACC mortgage paperwork that was left on the kitchen table when she arrived home from work one evening. 

The court heard that Murphy was brought to the High Court in 2008 by ACC Bank regarding the Glen Lion property. As a result, ACC Bank received the full amount of the loan issued, and this case was closed. At the same time, Bank of Scotland had also brought a court proceeding against Murphy, which was settled.

Murphy told the court that her husband was based in Portugal at this time and that she would fly over and back to him. She had taken a career break to care for her sick father, who had undergone multiple surgeries for bowel cancer. 

Brazil trips

Paul Comiskey O’Keeffe, BL, defending, asked Brid Murphy when she had first travelled to Brazil with Lynn. She said she travelled with Lynn and another named man in 2005 for property purposes. They spent approximately ten days in Brazil before returning home. 

In 2007, the couple again travelled to Brazil for property purposes. Lynn travelled to Brazil on multiple other occasions without Murphy.

Counsel asked Murphy if there were any other reasons, other than property, for which the couple travelled to Brazil.

IVF treatments

Murphy said that, at 26, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer and underwent treatment. She said that both she and her husband wanted children, but there were unsuccessful after five years of treatment, including IVF and IUI.

After her father passed away, the couple travelled to Brazil to meet with a doctor who had been recommended to them by friends in Portugal. In October 2010, after the first visit with the doctor, Brid Murphy became pregnant.

Over the next nine months, the couple made many trips from their home in Portugal to Brazil for pregnancy check-ups and treatment. Then, in August 2011, Brid Murphy gave birth to their first child.

Counsel asked the witness if during this time when they were living in Brazil with their young child, were they trying to evade the police.

She stated no, and said: “We were travelling on our passports. We initially had a six-month holiday visa, and once that was due to expire, we applied for a new visa”.

Unannounced police visits

She told the court that documents such as proof of address, utility bills, and identification were required to get the new visa. In addition, unannounced police visits to their home also took place as part of the visa process, she said.

In August 2013, Murphy was seven months pregnant with her second child when Lynn was arrested. He was taken into custody by five police officers, and several hours later, she was asked to attend the police station where Lynn was being held. 

‘Not beaten’

The police stood Lynn in front of her and told her: "Look, he wasn’t beaten here.”

He was then taken away in a car and she didn't hear from him for five days.

“For five days I didn’t know if he was dead or alive”, said Brid Murphy.

When Murphy was allowed to visit her husband in prison, she saw the prison guards standing in towers with guns, saying: “They do not enter the prison as they are afraid of the prisoners”.

Prison visiting arrangements

Visiting arrangements at the prison were strict, with wives and girlfriends allowed to visit on Saturdays, and parents of the prisoners allowed to visit on Sundays. In addition, once a month, children over the age of one could visit the prison. 

Murphy was allowed to bring five kilograms of food into the prison per week for her husband. However, half of this food had to be handed over to the “chaveiro” [prison guard] as a form of prison tax.

During Lynn’s time in prison, he was allowed conjugal visits with his wife. Lynn and his wife had two more children during his time in prison.

Consulate assistance sought

The court heard that Lynn became sick while in prison, and Murphy contacted the then Irish Ambassador to Brazil, Frank Sheridan, who said he would contact the consulate in Dublin and see if they could assist in getting Lynn admitted to hospital.

Murphy said that, the following day, Sheridan told her that help could not be offered.

Mr Comiskey O’Keeffe asked Brid Murphy how, after returning to Ireland with their four children, they have managed financially. She said that they receive social-welfare payments, and that their families are also supporting them. 

Patrick McGrath SC, prosecuting, had no questions for Murphy.

The trial continues before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland