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Detective Adrian Donohoe's wife visited the scene to identify husband's remains 90 minutes after the shooting, court heard


Murdered: Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was shot dead

Murdered: Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was shot dead

Murdered: Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was shot dead

The wife of detective garda Adrian Donohoe visited the scene to identify her husband's remains 90 minutes after he was shot dead, a court has heard.

A colleague and close friend of the late detective was giving evidence this afternoon at the trial of Aaron Brady who denies his murder.

Inspector Darren Kirwan told the jury at the Central Criminal Court that he had known Det Gda Donohoe and his wife Caroline for 17 years.

He recalled being off-duty that night and being informed at 9.45pm that his colleague had been killed.

The court heard Insp Kirwan went to the home of Adrian Donohoe a short time later and that Caroline Donohoe indicated she wished to visit the scene at Lordship Credit Union.

The witness agreed with prosecuting counsel Lorcan Staines SC that Ms Donohoe identified the body of her husband to him at 11pm.

The following afternoon Insp Kirwan attended Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, where he formally identified the body of Adrian Donohoe to Dr Khalid Jaber.

The 15-person jury was also told that the cause of death was recorded as a penetrating shotgun wound to the face.

The autopsy report from Deputy State Pathologist Dr Jaber was read out to the court by Jane Murphy BL.

Dr Jaber stated that he attended the scene at Lordship credit union and observed Det Gda Donohoe in a supine, or facing upwards, position.

He said there was an injury to the right side of his face and he was lying in a large pool of blood.

Dr Jaber said in his opinion the deceased died "as a result of a gunshot wound to the face" that entered the right eye.

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He also recorded a number of personal effects that were on Det Gda Donohoe including a wedding band on his left ring finger, a notebook and a dark leather holder with ammunition cartridge and magazine clip inside.

The jury will continue hearing evidence next Monday in 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 approximately €7,000 in cash and assorted cheques from Mr 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.

This morning a number of witnesses gave evidence of passing by Lordship credit union at the time of the robbery.

Leona White said she was leaving the home of her mother-in-law located nearby when she heard a loud bang.

The witness, who was driving with her three-year-old son in the car, said she recognised the noise as a gunshot because she lives near an Army shooting range.

She drove towards Bellurgan national school, located across from the credit union, when she noticed a woman step out onto the road to flag her down.

Ms White said the woman seemed distressed and was crying.

"She told me there was a robbery and someone was shot dead," the witness told the court, adding "at that stage I realised the seriousness of it".

Ms White said she was trying to console the woman and that a number of gardai then came onto the scene.

Another witness, Christina Burch, said she was driving by the Lordship Credit Union with her husband when she noticed a car blocking the entrance.

She then heard two loud bangs and pulled over the car. Ms Burch then dialled 999 and asked her husband to observe out of the rear window.

The call to emergency services was made at 9.29pm and Ms Burch said she then noticed a dark-coloured car speed off in the direction of Dundalk.

Her husband, Paul Burch, told the court that he noticed an individual jumping over the wall of the credit union onto the main road and drop a bag.

The witness told prosecuting counsel Lorcan Staines SC that he assumed it was a male that he observed, and couldn't give a description.

Gda Rachel Copperthwaite gave evidence that she was on patrol that night with a colleague when at around 9.30pm a call came in over the Garda radio from Det Gda Joe Ryan looking for assistance.

She said they arrived at the car park of Lordship credit union five minutes later and observed two cars, a Nissan Qashqai and a Toyota Avensis.

The witness said she saw Det Gda Donohoe lying beside the Toyota with a serious injury to the right hand side of his face and "knew immediately he was deceased".

Gda Cooperthwaite told the court she began taking details from witnesses at the scene. She recalled observing a bag near the credit union wall which she cover with a plastic bag. A short time later the garda noticed a set of Nissan keys on the opposite side of the road which she covered with an evidence bag.

Gda Finbarr Gurrihy, of Dundalk garda station, gave evidence of being on patrol that night when a call for assistance was made over the radio by Det Gda Ryan.

The witness described Det Gda Ryan as having "panic" in his voice and that there was an urgency about the call.

Gda Gurrihy said that while en route to the scene with two colleagues they drove through Ballymacscanlon and he was instinctively looking out for any suspicious vehicles but did not notice anything unusual.

He observed a number of vehicles in the carpark and Det Gda Donogoe with a gunshot wound to his face. Gda Gurrihy then sealed-off a scene from Bellurgan filling station.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Michael White on Monday.

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