Sunday 26 February 2017

'My dad is away from the bad boys now,' - girl (7) about father's 'execution'

Anne Sharkey

John Wilson, who was shot dead at his home on Cloverhill Road, Ballyfermot, in September 2012.
John Wilson, who was shot dead at his home on Cloverhill Road, Ballyfermot, in September 2012.

A seven year old girl who heard her father's "execution" at their home told gardai that she felt a "little bit sad and a little happy because my dad is away from the bad boys now", a murder trial has heard.

A Central Criminal Court jury today heard that the girl gave officers a statement, telling them: "I just heard 'bang bang bang' - I could see my dad rolling around. I called my da."

Dublin man Keith O'Neill (39) from Lissadell Drive, Drimnagh was arraigned before the Central Criminal Court today.

Dressed in a blue shirt with a navy and white collar, he pleaded not guilty to murdering John Wilson on September 28th, 2012 at his home on Cloverhill Road, Ballyfermot Dublin 10.

Conor Devally SC prosecuting opened the trial for the jury today.

He said that John Wilson was killed when he was at his house on Cloverhill Road in 2012.

"Mr Wilson drew up outside his home in the company of his daughter who was seven years of age and another gentleman who was in front seat," said Mr Devally. 

"He nipped into the house to get something and a car drew up behind that of Mr Wilson. From it emerged a person who seemed to be a passenger. He walked up the hall of the house hooded and covered with a scarf," he said.

"Immediately there were heard six short shots - this is an execution of sorts," he continued.

"Mr Wilson was shot in the back - six bullets were discharged but two of them hit him," he said.

Mr Devally told the court that a car similar to the one described from which the gunman had emerged was set alight and that items were discovered in it including a gun.

A statement was read to the court that was made by daughter of the deceased who was seven years old at the time.

It read: "My dad picked me up from school - my dad's friend was with him. I got into the back of the car and was sitting behind my dad."

"The three of us went straight to my house - my dad went into the house. When the man went into my house there were two people - one person stayed in the jeep," read Mr Devally.

"I just heard 'bang bang bang' - I could see my dad rolling around. I called my da.

"I feel a little bit sad and a little happy because my dad is away from the bad boys now," it concluded.

Taking to the stand, Robert McHugh told the court that he was in his sitting room on Cloverhill Road when he heard gunshots at around 1pm on September 28th.

"I remember hearing gun shots and running out and meeting his young daughter," he said.

Mr McHugh said that upon first hearing the gunshots, he saw a "hooded figure" leaving John Wilson's house from his own sitting room.

"I leaned back and looked out the window and seen a hooded figure come out the door. I couldn't see his face - his face was covered," he said.

"I made my way towards the house - his (John Wilson's) daughter was trying to get into the house. She was upset and I stopped her going into the house. John was lying on the ground struggling to breath," he said.

When asked how long had elapsed before the ambulance arrived, Mr McHugh said "15 to 20 minutes".

Taking to the stand, Garda Christopher O'Sullivan told Mr Devally that on entering Mr Wilson's house after a possible shooting, there was a male receiving CPR.

"We were dispatched to a possible shooting shortly before three o clock. On arrival there was a crowd 15 or 20 people - there was a male receiving CPR from a number of persons," he said.

After confirming that an ambulance was on route, Garda O'Sullivan and his colleague attempted CPR.

"He was not breathing - there was no pulse," he said.

"Dublin fire brigade attended within a matter of minutes. An advanced paramedic from the HSE took over and made a number of attempts," he continued.

"I observed a bullet on the kitchen floor. There were a number of bullet holes throughout the door leading to the kitchen."

The court heard that resuscitation was continuous for over an hour and when there was no change, it was decided to cease resuscitation.

 State Pathologist, Professor Marie Cassidy told the court that the fatal injury was the gunshot wound to the chest which injured internal organs. 

Mr Devally confirmed with Professor Cassidy that there was still warmth in the body when she arrived but early rigidity had begun.

"There were two gunshot injuries, one to the left arm and one to the chest. The entry wound was adjacent to the elbow - 10cm from the front of the forearm was an irregular exit wound," she said.

"The significant injury was to the left of the back, 25.5cm below the shoulder and aligned with back of armpit," she continued.

"There was a 6cm diameter hole - the bullet had continued into the body from the left towards the right side into the left chest cavity and lower left lung. The bullet punctured the stomach and spleen.

"It continued through the liver, out through diaphragm before exiting through the rib cage fracturing the sixth rib. The exit wound was on the right lateral chest wall."

She added: "The bullet had gone in the left side of the back, come diagonally across and out right side of chest."

"The absence of soot or powder staining would suggest the gun was not in close proximity to the body," she said.

She concluded: "The fatal injury was the gunshot wound to the chest which had injured internal organs - he had lost a significant amount of blood."

Professor Cassidy agreed with Mr Devally that Mr Wilson's death would have been swift.

The trial, which continues tomorrow before a jury of five women and seven men,  is expected to last two weeks.

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