Friday 18 August 2017

Killer of racing pigeon enthusiast 'was a man dressed as a woman, wearing makeup' - murder trial hears

The scene of the shooting, inset, Keith Walker
The scene of the shooting, inset, Keith Walker
Keith Walker

Eimear Cotter

A MAN dressed as a woman and wearing a long black wig pulled an automatic firearm from his handbag and shot dead a racing pigeon enthusiast in a car park outside a pigeon club, a jury has heard.

Christopher McDonald (34) was wearing make-up, as well as a long black wig, dark sunglasses, black gloves as well as black leggings and a black cardigan when he allegedly shot Keith Walker to death.

The Central Criminal Court heard that Mr Walker was struck by 18 bullets to his body and died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds to his head and body.

Mr McDonald, from the East Wall area of Dublin 1, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 36-year-old Keith Walker at Blanchardstown Racing Pigeon Club in Clonsilla on June 12, 2015.

In his opening speech to the jury, prosecution lawyer Denis Vaughan Buckley SC said that on the day he died Mr Walker left his home in Clondalkin with his six-year-old son and went to the home of Jason O’Connor in Mulhuddart.

Mr Vaughan Buckley said the two men had met through their interest in racing pigeons.

He said the men sat down, had a cup of tea and discussed what pigeons Mr O’Connor was going to put forward for a racing competition that weekend.

Mr Vaughan Buckley sad the men then organised the birds into carrier baskets and Mr Walker loaded the birds into Mr O’Connor’s partner’s car, a black Toyota Avensis.

Mr Walker then drove Mr O’Connor’s partner’s car to the racing pigeon club.

The jury heard that Mr Walker arrived at the pigeon club at 5.48pm, and CCTV footage shows him standing in the car park outside the club talking to other members.

Mr Vaughan Buckley said it is the prosecution case that at 6.01pm Mr McDonald, dressed as a woman, walked into the car park, removed an automatic firearm from his handbag, ran the last few metres towards Mr Walker and then discharged the weapon multiple times.

Mr Vaughan Buckley said Mr Walker was fatally wounded, and died at the scene.

The jury was told it will be shown CCTV footage of the killing.

The court heard that the killer was a man dressed as a woman, was wearing a long black wig, black leggings, a black cardigan and was carrying a dark handbag. He was also wearing make-up.

Mr Vaughan Buckley said the jury will also be shown CCTV footage from a nearby supermarket which shows a man wearing the same clothes, but without the wig, soon after the alleged murder.

He said it will be for the jury to come to the conclusion if the man, Mr McDonald, who was filmed in the supermarket was the man who killed Mr Walker.

Mr Vaughan Buckley also said Professor Marie Cassidy conducted a post-mortem on Mr Walker’s body. He said she will give evidence that Mr Walker died due to multiple gunshot wounds to his head and body.

Mr Vaughan Buckley said Prof Cassidy will give evidence that 18 bullets struck Mr Walker’s body.

He said the jury will hear from Mr O’Connor as well as other members of the pigeon club who were talking to Mr Walker when he was shot.

Mr Vaughan Buckley said the jury may have sympathy for the dead man and his partner but that they must decide the case on the evidence that they hear in the witness box.

There will also be forensic evidence which will show that gunshot residue on a wig and gloves found by gardai were worn by the shooter.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of six men and six women.

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