Man describes to court how he saw his father shot in back following an arranged fist fight
A 24-year-old Dublin man has described the moment that his first cousin shot his father in the back following an arranged fist fight at his grandparents’ property.
Darren O’Connor was giving evidence to the Central Criminal Court earlier today on the fourth day of his cousin’s murder trial.
David Cully, also 24, is charged with murdering his uncle, Edward O’Connor, by shooting him twice. He has admitted manslaughter, telling gardai he ‘lost it’ after Mr O’Connor made a comment about someone who had made an allegation of sexual abuse against him (the deceased).
However, Mr Cully of Kilshane Road, Finglas West has pleaded not guilty to murdering the 41-year-old at Ballycoolin Road, Finglas West on December 15 2013.
Darren O’Connor explained that he had been close to the accused until the family was torn apart when another person made an allegation of sexual abuse against the deceased. Gardai had investigated and the DPP decided not to prosecute.
He said that his father had asked to meet him on December 8th, 2013.
“I went down and he said David Cully had said to him he’d get him done for a grand or less,” he testified. ”He’d get him killed for a grand or less.”
Mr O’Connor said that he himself had a ‘run in’ with a person linked to the accused the night before the shooting. He said that this man had bitten his ear and that bouncers had ended the fight, which broke out in a Finglas pub.
Mr O’Connor said that he was in his parents’ house in Barn Lodge, Finglas the following day, when his father received a phone call from Mr Cully. He said the accused suggested a ‘straightener’ or fist fight between Darren O’Connor and his opponent from the night before.
He said that Mr Cully suggested having this fight at their grandparents’ old yard that afternoon; the house was no-longer in use but an uncle used the adjoining yard for his work.
Mr O’Connor said that he went to the yard with his father and four other male members of the family in two separate vehicles. He said that Mr Cully arrived with his opponent from the night before.
“We went into the yard. We had a straightener,” he said.
“He just kept biting me so I stopped fighting,” he said. “I think the (my) little brother tried to jump in and there was a shot let up into the air.”
He said he turned around and saw a black gun in Mr Cully’s right hand.
“He had it pointed up into the air,” he said.
He said they resumed the fight a few seconds later, but it lasted only a couple of more minutes.
“My father walked out. I was walking out next,” he said. “David Cully ran out in between us and shot him in the back.”
He explained that his father had been walking towards his BMW.
“He (Mr Cully) obviously said something to him and he (the deceased) turned his back to run away,” he continued, adding that his father knew that the accused had a gun as he had seen it in the yard.
“I think he let off about six shots,” he said.
He said his cousin then jumped into his Mercedes and drove off.
“I went over to my Dad. He was lying on his back,” he recalled. “He was breathing heavy. He couldn’t move.”
Mr O’Connor was rushed by ambulance to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The trial continues before Mr Justice Carroll Moran and a jury of seven women and five men.