News Courts

Saturday 23 August 2014

'I hid from hitmen in bathroom', friend of deceased tells inquest

Ken Foy Crime correspondent

Published 06/02/2014 | 17:18

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A Dublin woman has told how she hid in a bathroom as two gangland assassins shot her friend dead.

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"I thought I was going to be shot," Jade Fitzgerald told the inquest into the death of Christopher 'Git' McDonagh.

The 27-year-old was watching TV in the bedroom of his west Dublin home on September 9, 2008 when the two gunmen struck.

Ms Fitzgerald told the Coroner's Court how she hid in the en suite bathroom and locked the door before hearing two gunshots.

The inquest heard McDonagh's killers – caught outside the house on CCTV – fled before returning to shoot him in the head.

CHILLING

McDonagh was shot in his bedroom before he escaped through a window, but his killers followed him on to the street and assassinated him.

His friend Jade Fitzgerald told the inquest that she was in the en suite of the bedroom when there was a noise outside.

Mr McDonagh went to the window to check and she locked the door of the bathroom. Ms Fitzgerald then heard two gunshots.

The chilling CCTV images show the moment that two gangland assassins stood outside the Ronanstown house before the murder took place.

Mr McDonagh's house was covered by CCTV.

Speaking from the body of the court, his partner Natasha Quinn said it had been installed after gardai had informed him of threats against his life in the past.

Det Insp Richard McDonnell said CCTV footage showed two gunmen breaking into the house and going upstairs.

Mr McDonagh tried to escape his attackers by jumping out of the front upstairs window of the house.

Neighbour Catherine McGee was alerted to the incident when she heard a noise from outside and looked out of her bedroom window.

She said she saw the two men breaking a glass panel at the front door and then going into Mr McDonagh's house.

Mr McDonagh then jumped out of the window on to the extension and then the bonnet of the car before rolling on to the ground.

STUMBLING

He was stumbling towards the garden gate, she said, when a man came out of the front door, raised his arm and fired three shots at Mr McDonagh.

Another neighbour, Trevor Ormond, said he saw the attackers leave the driveway and run around to the side of the house.

However, the gunman stopped and returned to Mr McDonagh, hunched over him and shot him again in the head.

The hearing was told that a post-mortem found Mr McDonagh had been shot six times. While some of these were flesh wounds, he was shot twice in the head, and State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy said death would have been instant.

The jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing by persons unknown. The dead man's father, Noel McDonagh, pleaded with gardai to "find who killed him".

hnews@herald.ie

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