Saturday 22 November 2014

'I don't understand why gardai were not watching him when they knew his life was in danger' - Partner of dad shot dead at caravan park

Gareth Naughton

Published 17/07/2014 | 13:19

Gardai examine the area surrounding the scene at a caravan park in Donabate, Co. Dublin Michael Taylor was shot dead
Gardai examine the area surrounding the scene at a caravan park in Donabate, Co. Dublin Michael Taylor was shot dead

The partner of a man who was shot in a targeted attack has questioned why gardaí were not watching him when they knew his life was in danger.

Anna Fox was giving evidence at the inquest into the death of Michael Taylor (55), a father of six from O’Brien Hall in Dublin city centre, who was gunned down by two assailants at his holiday home at Hands Caravan Park in Donabate on the afternoon of June 6, 2011.

She told Dublin Coroner’s Court that he had been warned by gardaí that his life was under threat and they would come out to see him about this “every few weeks”.

“I cannot understand, if the police knew his life was under threat, why they were not watching him,” she said.

Reports at the time of his death suggested that Mr Taylor may have been killed as an act of revenge for a murder carried out by his son. Michael Taylor Jnr was found guilty of the 2007 murder of Paul Kelly at the Central Criminal Court in November 2011.

Mr Taylor was shot moments after he and Ms Fox arrived at the caravan park. She told the court that she stooped down to pick up her handbag as she got out of the car when she saw a man wearing a balaclava running toward them. Another man approached from the other side of the car and called out “Mick” before opening fire.

“He was shot a few times and he ran around the car. That is when they ended up shooting him on the ground,” she said.

Both men fired shots at the dead man. Ms Fox told the inquest that she chased after the two men and saw them go through a side gate and get into a silver car to make their escape.

They were later seen running through an apartment complex near Donabate Village and getting into another car. The first car was found burnt out nearby and the second was later found burnt out in Glasnevin.

Ms Fox went back to Mr Taylor who was calling her name. Her nephew Darrell Fox, who has a caravan nearby, said that he was lying face down and he could see "two holes" in the back of his head. He was talking and trying to push himself up.

When gardaí arrived they attempted to help Mr Taylor. Garda Caroline Hyland said he was trying to put his hand to his head and “shouting incoherently”.

He was unresponsive by the time paramedics arrived. He was taken to Beaumont Hospital where he died the following morning. 

The post-mortem was carried out by deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis who found that Mr Taylor was shot multiple times suffering a devastating head injury.

Detective Inspector Tony Howard said that a “high degree of planning” went into the attack. While the family have indicated who they believe may be responsible, he said, no arrests have been made or suspects identified. The investigation remains open and is current, Det Insp Howard said, before appealing for witnesses “even at this late stage” to come forward to assist the inquiry.

The jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing by persons unknown.

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