Sunday 26 May 2019

DNA links Freddie Thompson to 'spotter' vehicles used by men in murder, opening of trial hears

Frederick Thompson
Frederick Thompson
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

DNA and CCTV evidence links Freddie Thompson to two vehicles which were used by a group of men working in concert to murder David “Daithi” Douglas nearly two years ago, a trial has heard.

Opening the trial before the non-jury Special Criminal Court, Sean Gillane SC said it was not the prosecution case that Mr Thompson (37) had shot Mr Douglas.

“The prosecution is not saying that Mr Thompson carried out the killing. There was one hand on the gun at the time but there were many fingers on the trigger. It is the prosecution case that one of those belonged to the accused”, said Mr Gillane.

Dressed in a grey suit and sporting an open-necked pale blue shirt, Mr Thompson, of Loreto Road, Maryland, Dublin 8, stood and replied “not guilty” when a charge of murder was put to him this morning.

He has denied killing David Douglas (55), who was shot six times in his partner’s shop at Bridgefoot Street in Dublin.

In his opening remarks, Mr Gillane said that shortly after 4pm on July 1, 2016 a man wearing dark clothing and carrying a shotgun entered Mr Douglas’s partner’s shop and shot him six times in the chest and neck.

He dropped the gun and ran in the direction of Oliver Bond Street, where he got into a waiting Mercedes.

This Mercedes was seen driving hard along Francis Street, before pulling into an area known as Spitalfields.

Two men got out and the car was set alight. Mr Gillane said the trouser leg of one of the men caught fire and he is seen on CCTV putting out the blames.

The men run to awaiting silver Suzuki Swift, which was set alight at Strand Road in Dublin on July 4, 2016.

Mr Gillane said it was the State’s case that four vehicles operated in concert to commit the murder of Mr Douglas, a Mercedes, which was the “murder vehicle”, a Suzuki Swift, a Ford Focus and a Mitsubishi Mirage.

He said garda technical experts analysed the CCTV footage, and a witness will give evidence of the cars will driving in convey and acting in concert with each other.

DNA and CCTV evidence links Mr Thompson to two of the vehicles, a silver Ford Focus and a blue Mitsubishi Mirage, Mr Gillane said.

These cars were used as “spotter cars and as logistical support in the planning and execution of a murder”, he said.

He said that Mr Thompson’s finger marks were identified on the rear-view mirror in the Mitsubishi Mirage and on a card in the glove box of the same vehicle.

The accused’s finger marks were also found on the internal rear-view mirror of the Ford Focus.

Mr Gillane further said that Mr Thompson’s DNA was found on a hair in the Mitsubishi and on an air freshener and hand sanitiser in the Focus.

The court heard that garda witnesses will give evidence that they identified Mr Thompson as driving the same Ford Focus from CCTV footage.

DNA evidence also links two other men, known as Mr F and Mr C, to the Mitsubishi and Ford Focus, and CCTV footages shows Mr Thompson in the company of these men at a restaurant off Grafton Street later that evening.

The first witness, Dublin Fire Brigade paramedic Stephen Williams said that when he arrived on the scene, a male was lying in the doorway to a shop. It was clear he had been shot and was unconscious. There was a gun and bullet casings above his head.

Mr Williams said a garda was doing cpr on the man, who was transported to hospital at 4.43pm.

The court heard Mr Douglas was pronounced dead before 5pm.

Youth worker John Shaw said he knew Mr Douglas well and had given him some food about 4pm, after Mr Douglas had said he was hungry.

He said he was in the youth centre when he heard a loud bang, and saw a man dressed in black and wearing a balaclava run past the door in the direction of Oliver Bond Street. He went outside and saw Mr Douglas lying in the doorway of the shop.

He immediately called the emergency services. Mr Shaw said that there was a crowd gathering at the front door and people were taking pictures on their mobile phones.

He tried to close the shop door but was unable to do so because Mr Douglas’ feet were in the doorway.

He said Mr Douglas daughter then came from the back of the shop and when she saw her father she “just lost it”.

Three other witnesses, who were all driving in the area at the time, gave evidence of seeing a man dressed in black jump into a silver Mercedes, which then sped away from the scene.

The trial continues.

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