THE widow of a community activist gunned down outside their family home has launched an action for damages over his murder.
Margaret Madden suffered a heart attack as her husband Terence bled to death after he had been shot twice outside their Sligo home 13 years ago, the High Court heard.
Mrs Madden has sued the men who were involved in the ambush and death of her husband (52), a father of three, in what is believed to be the first action in which damages are sought by the family of the victim of a contract killing.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told that a grudge by one of the men over the Maddens running a bed and breakfast near his mother's B&B was behind the early-morning attack.
Michael Doohan, who is serving life for the murder, later claimed that he had ordered a punishment-style beating for Mr Madden in which his legs and arms would be broken, the court heard.
Doohan, who was a soldier at the time, claimed that he told the attacker to stay away from Mr Madden's head. The court heard that €600 was paid upfront, with a further €900 to be paid after the attack.
Mrs Madden, of Lough Gara View House, Monasteraden, Ballaghadereen, Co Sligo, has sued for damages over the death of her husband, who died when a bullet severed an artery in his leg on January 28, 1999.
Her case is also being taken against Michael Joseph Herron, formerly of Chapel Street, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, and Patrick McGrath of Cuilpruglish, Gurteen, Co Sligo, both of whom are also serving life for the murder.
The court heard that a fourth defendant, Thomas Derrig, of Culfadda, Ballymote, Co Sligo, died two years ago and so the case was now against the representatives of his estate, his two sons, Jonathon and Thomas Derrig Jnr.
Thomas Derrig pleaded guilty to possession of a single-barrel sawn-off shotgun in suspicious circumstances in October 1998. This was the gun used in the Madden murder.
McGrath and Herron were not in the High Court yesterday but the judge was told they had indicated that they would abide by any order made.
Mrs Madden is seeking aggravated and punitive damages for assault, battery, intimidation and conspiracy. The case was before the court for assessment of damages only.
Eanna Mulloy SC said two shots were fired at Mr Madden. As he lay on the ground after the first shot, the gunman blasted another shot, severing an artery in Mr Madden's leg.
The judge will deliver her assessment of the damages to be awarded next Tuesday.