'He was like a brother to me' - Young man describes moment he saw 'best mate' shot dead
A witness at a murder trial today said he heard the accused man threaten the deceased hours before a hooded gunman wearing a balaclava and riding a bicycle shot him dead.
James 'Jimmy' Lammon (44) of Cardington Way, Athy, Co Kildare has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 22-year-old Jason Doogue in the Green Hills area of Athy on August 21, 2015.
Calvin Cullen, aged 18 now and 17 at the time, told prosecuting counsel Kerida Naidoo SC that he saw an argument between Mr Lammon and his "best mate" Jason Doogue.
It was in the early afternoon when Mr Calvin, Mr Doogue and a group of friends had gathered at Emily Square in the centre of Athy. He said Mr Lammon was driving by in a green van when he started "mouthing out of the van towards us."
He said Mr Doogue responded and shouted into the van at James Lammon. "They were shouting at each other," he said and then he heard Mr Lammon say "You're getting it tonight, you're getting whacked tonight," and "watch, watch, you're dead tonight."
He said Jason Doogue responded: "I'll get you before you get me." Then Mr Lammon drove off and the group of youths walked to the nearby courthouse.
Another witness, Michael Kelly, said he was working in a restaurant on Emily Square but was outside smoking a cigarette when he witnessed a row between Jason Doogue and a person in a green van. He said someone in the van shouted: "I'll have you killed, I'll have you killed."
Mr Cullen said that after about 40 minutes at the courthouse the group went to his house in Green Hills where they spent some time kicking ball and talking in the front garden. At about 5pm Mr Cullen said he saw a man cycling towards them wearing a black hoodie, jacket and with something over his face. When he was three doors away Mr Cullen saw him pull a handgun with a silver silencer attached from his trousers. He shot Jason. Jason had been sitting on the garden wall and fell over it after the first shot.
He saw him shoot his friend twice more. "Then he cycled off casually straight down the hill towards Castle Park."
He told Mr Naidoo that Jason was his "best mate, he was like a brother to me." He said he recognised the bike the shooter was on as belonging to a relative of the accused man James Lammon.
In cross examination with Mary Rose Gearty SC, Mr Cullen agreed that in his original statement to gardai he said that during the earlier confrontation James Doogue had opened the door of Mr Lammon's van and tried to jump in.
Calvin Cullen's sister Shauna Cullen told Mr Naidoo that she was outside a house a few doors away when she saw someone pass on a bike. She thought nothing of it until she heard her brother shout "run". She said Jason fell off the wall after the first shot and then the gunman leaned over the wall and shot him again. "Jason jumped up and ran towards the door," she said. "He was just about to open the door when he shot again and he fell into the hall."
Their mother, Sinead Cullen, was walking home from work when she saw the group of young people outside her home suddenly running in different directions. She heard someone saying "he's dead" and thought it might be one of her children. She ran home and saw a person lying face down in the hallway. When she turned him over she recognised him as Jason Doogue.
She put him in the recovery position and spoke with emergency services who asked if he was breathing. "He took five or six breaths," she said. "He never murmured a sound."
Adam McConville was also with Jason Doogue and Mr Cullen in the garden in Green Hills when the gunman approached. He told Mr Naidoo that he saw a cyclist wearing what seemed like a balaclava. "A little bit up from the gate he pulled out a gun and shot Jason off the wall," he said.
He then cycled over to where Jason had fallen, leaned over the wall and shot him again. "Jason tried to run away and he shot him again in the back," he said.
The trial continues before a jury and Justice Paul Butler at the Central Criminal Court on Monday.