Thursday 27 April 2017

Dad shot dead after chasing egg-throwing gang, trial told

Lonan Paul

THE son of a man who was shot dead when he confronted a group of youths after they egged his house told a court yesterday that his father had been "harassed by teenagers for months on end".

Dylan O'Kane (26) was giving evidence on the opening day of the trial of Conor Duffy (18), who denies murdering Aidan O'Kane at East Wall in Dublin in December 2008.

Mr O'Kane (50), a mechanic, died after being shot in the chest. Mr Duffy, of St Mary's Road, East Wall, also denies unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, and having a firearm without a licence.

The court heard that Mr O'Kane had befriended a large group of local teenagers when he first moved to East Wall a year prior to his death.

He would fix bicycles and motorbikes for them and also take drugs with them in his house.

In his evidence, Mr O'Kane told the court his father had suffered "months of torment" from local youths, and on the night in question had decided to "get one of them" after eggs were thrown at his house on the evening of December 7, 2008.

Mr O'Kane said he tried to talk him out of it, but his father put on a leather jacket and a black balaclava and armed himself with a retractable baton.

When his father left the house, Mr O'Kane heard a teenager scream "he has a gun". Mr O'Kane, who had also changed into a leather jacket, denied that he planned to help his father "get one" of the youths, and said he only wanted to ensure that his father did not get beaten up by a group.

Intimidate

He saw his father walk into a laneway between Bargy Road and Shelmalier Road, and by the time the witness got there, his father was crouched down with the baton facing Mr Duffy, whom he said was pointing a gun at his father.

He heard a shot and then saw Mr Duffy running away as his father fell on to his back.

When he ran to his side, his father was having trouble breathing and was unable to talk. He lifted his father's shirt but could not see where he had been shot.

He shouted at a neighbour to call for an ambulance.

He put his father on his side and kept talking to him until paramedics arrived.

During the cross-examination, Mr Duffy's defence counsel, Sean Gillane, asked Mr O'Kane if his father had put on the balaclava in order to intimidate the youths.

"He covered his face to become scarier. If you are going up against a gang of young people you do anything you can," he responded.

Screamed

The witness denied, however, that his father was "anxious" to create the impression he had a gun but admitted the teenagers may have believed he had a firearm because someone had screamed "he has a gun".

When asked why his father had said "I'll blast yis", Mr O'Kane said his father was probably replying to or "mirroring" threats that the teenagers were making to him.

Mr O'Kane also admitted that he told a local youth to get rid of the baton his father had been carrying because he didn't want him "to get into trouble".

He said he only found out after his father's death that there had been complaints from gardai about the drug-taking in his father's house.

The case, before Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan, continues.

Irish Independent

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