Thursday 27 April 2017

British fugitive living under false identity shot dead innocent Irish dad after pub row - court told

Coco's Bar on the Costa del Sol (Inset: Darren O'Flaherty)
Coco's Bar on the Costa del Sol (Inset: Darren O'Flaherty)
Darren O'Flaherty (Photo: Crimewatch)

Gerard Couzens

A British fugitive living under a false identity on the Costa del Sol shot dead an Irish dad-of-two after a petty pub row with another stranger, a court heard.

Wanted man Darren O'Flaherty (42) went home to change his clothes and look for a gun before returning to murder innocent holidaymaker John O'Neill and shoot at other expats, a state prosecutor alleged.

John O'Neill
John O'Neill

The events leading up to the killing of plasterer Mr O'Neill, from Coolock, north Dublin, were retold to a nine-strong jury at a criminal court in Malaga where O'Flaherty is standing trial.

The father-of-five from Liverpool - dressed in a white shirt, black tie and black trousers - sat impassively in the dock beside a translator as prosecutor Rosa Romero told jurors O'Flaherty had shot his victim with the intention of ending his life at Coco's Bar in the popular resort of Benalmadena.

Claiming O'Flaherty's .38 revolver had failed when he pointed his gun at a father and his disabled son during the attack on July 28, 2010, she said: "He gave his victim absolutely no chance of defending himself when he killed him and under Spanish law that makes this a murder and not a simple homicide. The trigger was a petty row with a different man.

"Our main evidence is the CCTV footage at the bar which doesn't show the victim being killed but which you can hear the killer shot on."

Darren O'Flaherty (Photo: Crimewatch)
Darren O'Flaherty (Photo: Crimewatch)

Telling the jury O'Flaherty was living in a nearby flat rented using a false passport in the name of William Anthony Doyle, she added: "He wasn't a tourist who had come here to have a good time.

"He was a man who hid his identity because he was wanted in the UK and was living here under a false name."

Mr O'Neill, who was on his first foreign holiday with his family including his son Jake, then three, and daughter Jasmine, then nine months, had attended a wedding the day before his life was ended.

He collapsed and died at a bus stop 50 yards from the bar in front of partner Maxine Sutcliffe after suffering a fatal wound to his stomach.

O'Flaherty was held on a European arrest warrant while celebrating his birthday at a Chinese restaurant in north Wales in August 2013.

He was extradited to Spain in February 2015 to await trial after serving prison time in the UK for his role in a hold-up. O'Flaherty has pleaded not guilty. The trial continues today when Ms Sutcliffe is due to give evidence by video-link.

Irish Independent

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