Christening row killer 'shot the wrong man
Published 23/11/2011 | 05:00
A MAN who fled to Turkey after accidentally shooting a father of two dead following a fight at a christening has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Robert Egan told gardai that he "did not mean to shoot" Wayne Doherty, but planned to shoot another man, Bobby Hughes, in the legs.
Mr Doherty (32), a bread delivery man, was shot outside his parents' home after he attempted to stop a dispute involving his friends and a group of men late on the night of July 4, 2009.
The Central Criminal Court heard yesterday that Egan's brother was shot and killed by the IRA in a revenge attack.
Egan is to be sentenced tomorrow. The 27-year-old of Dromheath Avenue, Mulhuddart, pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Doherty at Oakview Way, Hartstown, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the third day of the trial.
He had also pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of a shotgun at the same address on July 4, 2009.
Detective Sergeant Dan O'Callaghan said a christening had taken place earlier in the day at a public house in Clonee.
Andrew Jameson, a friend of Egan's, and Bobby Hughes, a neighbour of Mr Doherty's, were involved in a minor altercation at the christening.
The altercation continued outside the public house and Mr Jameson got into a car driven by Egan and threw a pint glass at Mr Hughes.
Various phone calls were made by Mr Hughes to Mr Jameson demanding "a straightener" at Oakview Way that evening and "each side marshalled their forces" according to Det Callaghan. Mr Hughes arrived at the scene with his friend Eric O'Callaghan, the dead man Wayne Doherty and Mr Doherty's brother, David Doherty.
Egan arrived in a silver Volkswagen Passat and approached the group carrying a loaded sawn-off shotgun while a group of men followed from behind.
Mr Doherty sought to wrestle the gun from Egan and two shots were discharged accidentally.
One shot passed over Mr Doherty's head while the second hit Mr Doherty on the side of the chest and caused multiple injuries to his abdomen and left flank.
Egan fled the scene and a friend of Mr Doherty's called an ambulance at 11.27pm.
Despite attempts by surgeons to save his life, Mr Doherty died at James Connolly Memorial Hospital at 5.37am on the morning of July 5.
Det Sgt O'Callaghan said Egan then fled to Belfast where he managed to get a flight to Turkey using a false passport and false birth certificate.
He had contacted gardai on May 8, 2010 to indicate he wanted to come home to "face charges" and was met by gardai at Dublin Airport, where he was arrested and interviewed over the death of Mr Doherty.
Michael O'Higgins, defending, said Egan's brother Jason had been shot seven times in the back and killed by the IRA, which gardai believe was in direct retaliation for the death of Mr Doherty.
"The defendant indirectly blames himself for the death of his brother as if he hadn't done what he did to Mr Doherty then these events wouldn't have happened and he has to carry the burden for this," said Mr O'Higgins.
The wife of the victim, Karen Doherty, said in court that "Wayne was my life, my best friend, my soulmate and he will never be replaced," and that her two children Joanne (7) and Christopher (13) had been left without a dad.
Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy reserved judgment on the sentencing until tomorrow and Egan was remanded back in custody.