Monday 26 February 2018

Community worker called gardai over concerns that man in drag was going to abduct child, murder trial hears

Keith Walker
Keith Walker

Eimear Cotter

A COMMUNITY officer who saw a man dressed as a woman hanging around a community centre complex rang gardai because she was concerned that he was going to abduct a child, a jury has heard.

Christopher McDonald (34) allegedly told the community officer "no I’m grand", when she approached him and asked him if he was lost.

The community worker told the Central Criminal Court she initially thought the individual was a woman but when he spoke to her she realised he was a man.

Mr McDonald, from the East Wall area in Dublin 1, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 36-year-old Keith Walker on June 12, 2015.

Mr Walker was standing in a car park outside Blanchardstown Pigeon Racing Club in Clonsilla talking to other club members when he was shot.

It is the prosecution case that Mr McDonald disguised himself as a woman and shot Mr Walker 18 times with a sub machine gun. He died at the scene as a result of multiple gunshot wounds to his head and body.

In her evidence, community officer Moria Hyland Doyle said there’d been a celebration at the community centre that day and there were about 100 people there.

Around 4pm, she walked a woman and her child out to the gate and saw another woman with long black hair standing around. She was looking around an area where children play.

Ms Hyland Doyle said the woman was wearing sunglasses, a dark jacket and leggings with a pink strip up the side.

She went back into reception, and the person was still there, walking around.

She said she told the caretaker about the woman, and she went back out and asked her if she was lost or looking for someone.

“No, I’m grand”, the person said.

At this stage, Ms Hyland Doyle said she realised the person was a man, not a woman. The man then walked back out onto the road.

She said she rang Blanchardstown Garda Station around 4.30pm and told them there was someone hanging around and she was afraid they were going to take a child.

She said a lot of vulnerable families use the service and there can be issues around child custody.

She waited until everyone had left, and when she drove away around 5.10pm she saw the man had moved down Shelerin Road, and was now standing beside the side gate to the school.

The jury also heard from a pigeon club member who said he got to the club around 4.20pm. As he drove in the entrance he saw someone with a wig, sunglasses and wearing cycling shorts.

He said the individual was staring at him and his girlfriend.

He said the person had a cigarette in his hand and he flicked out his arm. “He just didn’t look like a woman”, he said.

He got out of his car, clocked in his pigeons and stood outside the club having a cigarette and talking to some other club members.

The member said the man with the wig and glasses was still there and as he told the others it wasn’t a woman he saw him reach for something. It looked “about two feet long” and was “a big, big gun”.

“It’s a hitman, it’s a hitman”, he said he screamed, as the man started firing.

The man told the jury that Keith Walker turned his head towards him when he screamed and then the “bullets were hitting him in the head”.

He said Mr Walker fell to the ground face down.  He was turned onto his back and the witness said he held his hand, telling him to “hang on”.

The witness said he’d met Keith two or three times and he was “bubbly, a nice chap”. He said Mr Walker was always talking about his young son and he’d told him he was getting married.

In cross examination, the man said he knew the person at the gate definitely wasn’t a woman because he was “acting too hard to be a girl”.

Earlier, the jury heard that a man dressed in women’s clothes stopped two teenagers at the junction of Whitestown Avenue and Whitestown Gardens, near the Lidl store, and asked them for directions to the pigeon club.

The man is also alleged to have asked one of the teens if he could use his mobile phone, but the young man told him he didn’t have any credit on it.

The teens also said the man was wearing make-up, had lipstick stains on his teeth and was wearing women’s clothing, including black three-quarter length leggings and a black gym jacket.

One of the boys also said he saw what he thought was the “pink or purple strap” of a bra.

The trial continues.

Online Editors

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