Saturday 10 December 2016

Irishman killed expat in row over girl, court hears

Gerard Couzens

Published 12/07/2011 | 05:00

AN IRISHMAN linked to a string of unsolved killings shot a pub drinker dead after a petty row over a girl, a court heard yesterday.

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Dubliner Eric Wilson sought revenge on Dan Smith after the British expat stepped in to stop him 'touching up' a woman friend at a Spanish bar, prosecutors claimed.

Wilson (27) raced home on a high-powered motorbike, grabbed a pistol and returned to shoot his victim 11 times in the face and body from close range, the jury was told at the opening of his murder trial in Malaga.

Mr Smith (24) died from acute respiratory failure within minutes after one of the bullets from his killer's 9mm Parabellum pistol pierced his right lung.

Most of the shots were fired from just three feet away as the victim lay on the ground during the attack at the Lounge Bar in Riviera del Sol near Fuengirola on June 5 last year.

State prosecutor Maria Jose Criado told the jury of four men and five women that it was a "savage" murder.

"The defendant left the bar after an altercation with the victim and returned armed with a pistol and with the sole aim of ending Daniel's life," she said.

"He shot him repeatedly in a cowardly fashion from close range and injured him so seriously he died shortly afterwards on the pavement."

Mr Wilson, handcuffed at all times and flanked by two police officers, protested his innocence through a translator.

Trouble

He claimed he had left the Lounge Bar hours before the killing to avoid trouble after Mr Smith shouted at him for "accidentally bumping" into a woman.

"He was a big man in a group that looked pretty drunk," Mr Wilson, originally from Ballyfermot, Co Dublin, said.

"I thought the best thing to do was leave and that's what I did. I never went back. When the shooting happened, I was drinking in my local village pub nearly 20 miles away."

Mr Wilson was linked in the run-up to yesterday's hearing to several gangland murders in Ireland, including those of Paul Reay in 2006 and Roy Coddington in 2007.

Mr Wilson, nicknamed 'Lucky' by pals, said he moved to Spain three years ago to start a new life after becoming addicted to gambling in Ireland.

He said he made his living buying and selling horses he kept at his rented country estate home in Coin, a short drive from the Costa del Sol.

He admitted telling officers he was someone else when he was arrested.

But he claimed: "They told me they were investigating a bank robbery and asked to come into my house so I told them I was the person named on the rental contract."

Police officers told how they tracked Mr Wilson down with the help of gardai after drinkers at the Lounge Bar told them to look for an Irishman known as Eric or Lucky.

They found fake passports, hand grenades, explosives and a stash of ammunition during the search of his house as well as the black Yamaha 1000 CC motorbike Mr Wilson allegedly used as a getaway vehicle. The murder weapon has never been discovered.

Mr Wilson's defence team claim the Irishman is the victim of a case of mistaken identity.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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