Woman saw her partner shot dead
A WOMAN has described the horror of seeing her partner shot several times in their bedroom by a lone gunman just minutes after the couple had returned home from the pub.
John Berney (29) of Castlelyon Drive, Newcastle, Co Dublin, was gunned down in front of Karen Mealy on March 6, 2008.
Ms Mealy was in the couple's upstairs bedroom with Berney, who was getting money to pay the babysitter's taxi home, when she heard someone coming up the stairs.
She told an inquest at Dublin County Coroner's Court yesterday: "When I turned around, he (the gunman) was already in the room.
"He didn't say anything. He was holding a small handgun. I saw him fire the gun. I heard about three or four bangs. John just fell to the ground.
"When he was finished shooting, the man just turned around and ran down the stairs."
Berney, a criminal, was shot once in the trunk and had two contact gunshot wounds to the left side of his head.
He didn't see the gunman come in as he was bending down at a bedside locker. Ms Mealy's two sons, aged four and one, were asleep in upstairs bedrooms at the time.
Stephen Barry, who had been babysitting the two boys and was downstairs at the time of the shooting, told coroner Dr Kieran Geraghty that he didn't hear the gunman come into the house. The first thing he heard was three or four shots.
The gunman, who had a black scarf wrapped around his face, then came downstairs and shot Mr Barry in the neck.
The coroner told Mr Barry that he was "lucky to be alive".
A post-mortem by the deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis found Mr Berney died of multiple gunshot wounds.
A murder investigation resulted in a number of arrests, Superintendent Peter O'Boyle told the inquest. A file was forwarded to the DPP, but at present there is no prosecution pending. The Garda investigation remains open.
A jury of four men and two women returned a verdict of death by unlawful killing.