Saturday 1 October 2016

Man (60) shot mum-of-six dead and injured her daughter as he 'thought they called him a paedophile', murder trial hears

Alison O’Riordan

Published 25/07/2016 | 21:28

Mary Dargan
Mary Dargan

A 60-year-old man shot dead a mother of six and injured her daughter as they sat drinking tea in their kitchen because he believed they were calling him a paedophile, a murder trial jury has heard.

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James Redmond (60) with an address at Killinarden Estate, Tallaght, Dublin 24 is charged with murdering Mary Dargan and attempting to murder Karina Dargan at their home in Killinarden Estate on March 15, 2014.

Karina Dargan, daughter of the late Mary Dargan
Karina Dargan, daughter of the late Mary Dargan

This morning Mr Redmond pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the two charges at the Central Criminal Court.

Before the prosecution opened its case, defence counsel Mr Brendan Grehan SC made a number of admissions of fact to the court on behalf of his client.

The barrister told the court that Mr Redmond pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the two charges and admitted that he had committed the acts of killing Mary Dargan and attempting to kill her daughter Karina.

Mr Grehan also admitted that his client was lawfully arrested and detained by gardai after the event.

“James Redmond held a firearms licence for the shotgun which he owned and used in the shooting on that date. He has been in custody since March 15, 2014 and in the Central Mental Hospital since the end of March 2014,” said counsel.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Ms Pauline Walley SC told the jury of seven men and five women that Ms Dargan was killed while she was drinking tea in the kitchen of her home with her adult daughters on March 15.

Her daughter Karina was shot in the head but survived.

“The accused man said he carried out those physical and horrendous acts. The issue you will have to decide is if the accused possessed the necessary intent at the time or was he suffering from a mental disorder. Two mental experts accept that Mr Redmond did not possess the necessary intent at the time and you will hear from them,” she said.

Prosecution counsel told the jury that both families were neighbours and they had lived “peacefully and amicably side by side” in the Killinarden Estate for many years.

“Mr Redmond had become depressed some months earlier and he believed Mary Dargan and her daughter were chanting that he was a paedophile and it was being said about him in the community,” said Ms Walley.

The court heard that Mr Redmond left his home, jumped over the back wall with a shotgun and then shot Mary Dargan.

The bullet severed the 66 year old's artery and she died.

The accused then shot Karina Dargan in the head as she attempted to run from the kitchen.

“As Karina was calling for her brother Gary who was watching television in the next room, he leapt off the sofa and overcame James Redmond who had the gun in his hand. It is like something out of a horror story and is very upsetting,” she said.

A neighbour came to the assistance of Karina, brought her to hospital and “thankfully she survived.”

Gary Dargan then “overpowered” the accused and detained him in the hallway.

“The accused man told Garda Gildea at the scene that he shot Mary Dargan as she was calling him a paedophile. He said in later garda interviews that Mary and her daughter had been calling him a paedophile and had engaged in mind games with him.

He said Karina was chanting at night time and he could hear these chants coming through the attic. He also believed that Karina said his wife was a whore and his daughter was a hardcore porn star,” said Ms Walley.

Counsel told the jury that both families got on well and “nothing untoward” had ever happened between them.

Ms Pauline Walley SC then recalled a Detective Garda who was a senior member of the investigating team.

The detective garda agreed with counsel that the evidence given by Mary Dargan’s three children had established that relations between the two families were “absolutely fine” and there had never been anything “untoward” going on.

He also also agreed that there was “no substance or truth” to allegations made by Mr Redmond about chanting or laughing or someone suggesting he was a paedophile.

The court heard that this had no basis in reality and it was all inside Mr Redmond’s head.

Ms Walley said the jury would hear that the accused’s family became concerned about him at the end of 2013.

“Mr Redmond went to visit a GP in January 2014 who noted he was of low mood and getting depressed. He was only getting a few hours sleep a night so he was prescribed sleeping tablets,” she said.

The barrister said the court would hear that on two occasions in January 2014 Mr Redmond approached gardai in Tallaght and claimed he was being accused by Mary Dargan and her daughter of being a paedophile.

“On another occasion he claimed people on the street believed he was a paedophile. He claimed this had been happening for a number of months and he insisted gardai record this,” she said.

The prosecution counsel said the jury would also hear that the accused was prescribed medication at the end of January 2014, a couple of months before the killing.

Counsel for the State then called Karina Dargan to give evidence.

Ms Dargan told the court that in March 2014 she was living in her mother’s house with her daughter which had been the family home for many years.

Her brother Gary had also been living in the house at the time as he was looking for a place to live.

“I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my mum, my sister Jessie and her son. We were having a giggle about Jessie’s upcoming wedding.

I looked out at the corner of my eye and I saw him coming towards me.

The blinds were open as it was a nice day out. I saw him walking in slow and calmly. He said ‘Are you f**king laughing now’,” she said.

“I thought he was coming in to say he had found this (the gun) and the kids are out the front,” she said.

The court heard that Mr Redmond then shot her mother in the side of her face.

“I ran to get Gary and I heard a bang and I went down. I just saw Gary’s feet running by me and I got up. My daughter was at the hall door. I knew my mother died immediately, I knew when I looked at her,” she said.

She got a gunshot wound to the right hand side of her head.

The court heard there was no damage to her skull, it was tissue damage.

Ms Dargan said she then walked into the sitting room and grabbed a cushion to stop her head bleeding.

The court heard Ms Dargan knew the accused for the previous 28 years since they moved into the house next door.

“He looked at my mother like he was her worst enemy. I thought it was a joke at first then he pulled up the rifle and I knew he was serious.

"He looked like something possessed out of The Exorcist,” she said.

Ms Dargan said she then ran out of the house and her neighbour brought her to Tallaght Hospital.

Another neighbour then rang 999 and got an ambulance for her mother.

The court heard that Ms Dargan had seen Mr Redmond that morning when she was putting out the bins.

“He said hello and I said hello. He was washing his car and then he went to the pub to watch the match. There was never any problems or cross words had,” she said.

Ms Walley then called Gary Dargan to give evidence.

Mr Dargan referred to his deceased mother as “salt of the earth.”

The court heard their dad had passed away in 1996 and they were a “very close family.”

“Anyone that spoke to her always had a good word to say about her, she was gigantically loved,” he said.

Mr Dargan said that he was on the sofa watching the Wales rugby match when he heard two loud bangs.

“I heard a gasp of terror. Something said to me there is someone in there that should not be there,” he said.

“I got into the room and I saw this filthy soul with the gun. He did not expect to see me. He had a long gun. I walloped him with my right hand and knocked him out, he fell and the gun fell to the floor,” he said.

Mr Dargan told the court that he could see the damage to his mother’s face.

“I prayed on behalf of my mother and wished her to go to heaven. My mother never said anything about him, I always sensed something foreboding about him,” he said.

The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Robert Eagar.

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