Friday 16 November 2018

Man (30) sentenced to life for Sunset House murder

04/11/03 Eamomm Cumberton (16) of Mountjoy Street,...04/11/03 Eamomm Cumberton (16) of Mountjoy Street, Dublin who was sentenced to four years detention at the Circuit Criminal Court for stabbing a Donegal man in the heart with a kitchen knife at a party in June 2002. © See Circuit Criminal Court Copy
04/11/03 Eamomm Cumberton (16) of Mountjoy Street,...04/11/03 Eamomm Cumberton (16) of Mountjoy Street, Dublin who was sentenced to four years detention at the Circuit Criminal Court for stabbing a Donegal man in the heart with a kitchen knife at a party in June 2002. © See Circuit Criminal Court Copy
The Sunset House and inset, victim Michael Barr

Daniel Hickey

A man has been jailed for life by the non-jury Special Criminal Court after being found guilty of the murder of the manager of the Sunset House pub in Dublin.

Eamonn Cumberton (30), of Mountjoy Street, Dublin 7, had denied the murder of 35-year-old Michael Barr in the Sunset House pub in Dublin’s north inner city on April 25 2016.

Mr Barr was standing at the counter of the bar when two men wearing "Freddy Kruger" masks entered the pub and one of them shot him seven times.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding at the three-judge court, said that the people socialising in the pub that night were "treated to a very traumatic spectacle indeed".

The prosecution had relied on circumstantial evidence.

During the five-week trial last year, the court had heard that at 9:31pm on the night of the shooting, two men got out of an Audi and went into the Sunset House. Witnesses described the men as wearing "Freddie Kruger" masks. One man approached Mr Barr and shot him. The other man stood at the door and discharged one shot from a gun, which struck the bar.

The Sunset House and inset, victim Michael Barr
The Sunset House and inset, victim Michael Barr

The men then left the pub and got back into the Audi.

The Audi was later found partly burnt out on Walsh Road in Drumcondra. People in the area saw three men attempting to set fire to the car.

Gardai arrived and extinguished the fire.

In the rear of the car gardai found two rubber masks, a baseball cap and firearms.

Mr Justice Hunt said the court was satisfied that DNA found on the baseball cap and one of the rubber masks was Cumberton's.

The judge said that the three people seen by witnesses outside the Audi were "involved intimately" in the events at Sunset House.

He said that the items had been placed there in the car and that the men expected they would "soon be consumed by fire".

Mr Justice Hunt said the court was satisfied Cumberton's DNA was found on items in the car which were "closely associated with the murder of Mr Barr" and that there was "no basis to conclude his DNA was present in car for some innocent reason".

Mr Barr had been shot seven times, with five shots to the head and one each to the shoulder and neck.

Ballistics evidence showed the shots had been fired from a firearm found in the Audi.

On the day after the shooting Cumberton and another man, neither carrying luggage, attempted to board a flight to Thailand.

Cumberton's passport was out-of-date so he obtained an emergency passport and instead travelled to Bangkok the following day.

At a press conference after the trial, Assistant Commissioner Pat Leahy said that "there is no satisfaction in this for An Garda Siochana".

"This is just the end of a process for us. One part of a process. For families and communities, it's just another outcome. It's another unhappy outcome. For us, it's just about the end of a professional process. One part of a process that is going to go on and on.

"We're sorry it is visited upon communities, this case, in the north-inner city but this is what happens when people engage in the type of violence that's attached to what we saw today. If you get involved in this, the end outcome is definitely going to be an unhappy outcome for everybody. Please do not get involved even in the periphery of this feud. If you're being sucked in or coerced into this, please say no and stay away.

"We will dismantle (this organisation)."

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