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Credit union worker feared she would be killed because she 'had seen too much'

Witness recalls the moments after Detective Garda Donohoe was shot

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Murdered: Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was shot dead

Murdered: Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was shot dead

Murdered: Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was shot dead

A credit union worker feared a man running towards her was going to kill her "because she had seen too much" on the night Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was shot dead, a court has heard

Volunteer employee Bernadette McShane broke down giving evidence yesterday at the trial of Aaron Brady (28), who is charged with the capital murder of Det Gda Donohoe at the Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Co Louth, on January 25, 2013.

Mr Brady is also charged with the robbery of around €7,000 in cash and assorted cheques from Pat Bellew at the same location on the same date.

The accused, of New Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

The 15-person jury at the Central Criminal Court heard that Bernadette McShane was locking up the credit union at 9.25pm that night with her co-worker Pat Bellew after a colleague from the Cooley branch arrived with an armed Garda escort.

She said she turned off the car park lights and set the alarm. Mr Bellew left with a dark-coloured AIB bag, walking towards his Mazda car.

Ms McShane told prosecuting counsel Dean Kelly BL she got into her Nissan Micra and through her rear view mirror she saw Mr Bellew reverse his car. She then started the engine of her own vehicle.

She heard what she described as two loud bangs and initially thought they were fireworks. Ms McShane turned to look towards the other cars in the car park and saw men running to her right-hand side.

"The first thing I saw was one of the detectives falling to the ground," the witness said.

After this, she said she saw an individual running towards her. Ms McShane broke down and wiped away tears.

She said she thought he was coming "to kill me because I'd seen too much".

This individual smashed her driver's side window and demanded money.

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The witness told the court that the man said "give me the money, give me the f***ing money" and that Ms McShane replied: "I haven't got any, somebody else has it."

The court heard he then told her to "drop the glove compartment", which she did, but that there was nothing inside. He then demanded her handbag which she handed over.

The court heard from another witness, Mary Hanlon, who gave evidence that she was sitting in her Nissan Qashqai waiting to leave the car park with the Garda escort and Pat Bellew when she noticed a grey VW Passat pull up and block the exit.

The witness told the court that her gut instinct was that the driver, who she saw from a side-profile, was a lady aged in her 20s or 30s with blonde hair, wearing a beanie hat.

She next heard a "bang bang" and then saw a male run past her driver's side door.

Another male, who she said had a "long gun down his side", hopped across the wall. He was "very fit and very fast".

She agreed with Mr Grehan that her impression was the driver was a woman. She added that on the night she told gardaí it could "equally have been a fella wearing a blonde wig".

Under cross examination from defence counsel Fiona Murphy SC, Ms Hanlon said that her instinct "then and now" was that the driver of the vehicle was woman.

The court also heard from Pat Bellew who was working at Lordship Credit Union that night, and left with a bag containing around €7,000 in cash to be deposited in Dundalk.

Footage was also played from a dashcamera in Mr Bellew's car which captured some of the incident, in which the witness agreed screaming and shouting can be heard.

The trial continues this morning.

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