Sunday 18 August 2019

Detective used knife to cut clothes of dying raider hit by fatal gunshot, inquiry hears

Ronan Mac Lochlainn
Ronan Mac Lochlainn

Clodagh Sheehy

A detective used a knife to cut the clothes of a dying raider hit by a fatal gunshot.

Detective Garda Derek Duffin said seconds earlier Real IRA member Ronan MacLochlainn had said “I’m shot”.

Detective Duffin was giving evidence to the MacLochlainn Tribunal which is examining the fatal shooting of Mr MacLochlainn by gardai at the scene of an armed robbery north of Ashford Co Wicklow on May 1st 1998.

Detective Duffin, a member of the garda Emergency Response Unit, arrived on the scene just minutes after the shooting.

He told how he could seen two colleagues “struggling” to try and get the man, he later found out was Ronan MacLochlain, out of a car he had hijacked.

“I went to assist them.  My recollection is I assisted them to keep him face down on the ground. He was struggling at the time.  We put cuffs on him. I don’t know who put them on him.”

At this point Mr MacLochlainn “said I’m shot or I have been shot”, added Detective Duffin.

“I checked his chin. There was a red mark”.  Detective Duffin said the man had waterproof clothing and he used his utility knife to cut through the clothes and expose the bullet wound.

“There was lots of blood at that stage, I shouted for a first aid kit. I tried to get pressure on the wound immediately. There was blood, lots of blood”.

The Detective described how the dying man then “became short of breath. It seemed to me he was starting to slip”.

Detective Duffin got a vent aid from the kit and started to give mouth to mouth to Mr MacLochlainn while a colleague did chest compressions.

He told how he realised Mr MacLochlainn had died. “His pulse slipped, there was no pulse”.

He said he went to his car and got a poncho to cover the body.  “I felt it was the right thing to do”.

Detective Duffin also told the Inquiry that he had blood on his arms from his finger tips to his elbows and had washed this off in a nearby house.

Detective Sergeant Mark Daly of the ERU who was also on the operation that day said the team had congregated at Hunter’s Hotel in Ashford to discuss what the gang might do.

The gang was under surveillance but they had not idea what was to happen.

As he got his firearms and vehicle ready at the hotel “I rang my wife which was unusual but I knew things were getting very serious at that particular stage”.

Detective Sgt Daly said as he drove into the scene the ERU jeep ahead of him crashed into a Carina car driven by one of the raiders.

This masked man then picked up his sawn off shotgun and pointed at Mr Daly and his colleague.

“When he saw we both had an aim on him he dropped the shotgun and put his arms up in the air”.

The man gave his name as Stephen Carney. He was handcuffed and laid face down on the ground and his gun made safe.

Mr Daly said he turned to his left and there was a Securicor staff man on the ground beside his van.

“He was crying. He was in the kneeling position. He was very distressed.  I told him the safest place was to get back into the van until you are told otherwise which he did immediately”.

He said there was an AK 47 rifle on the ground  with petrol bombs, petrol containers, rags and wood, a lump hammer and a con saw.  The gun had not been cocked.  He made it safe.

“On the ditch I saw a rocket launcher” but on closer inspection this turned out to be a fake using an inverted 7up bottle as a cone.

“From a distance if it was held up I would certainly be convinced”, he added.

The hearing continues.

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