Wednesday 11 December 2019

Murder accused shot best friend while 'having a go' of his gun

Niamh O Donoghue

A FATHER-OF-FOUR accused of murdering his best friend at his apartment in north Dublin told gardai the gun went off and he shot him.

Peter Donnelly (52) of The Green, Larch Hill Apartments, Santry, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Edward Flanagan (49) at the same address on June 16 2011.

He has also pleaded not guilty to possession of a Baikal 9mm automatic pistol and three rounds of .38 calibre ammunition at the same address on June 15, 2011.

The accused presented himself to Coolock Garda Station the day after the incident in very emotional state and told gardai he had shot his friend.

He told gardai he was in shock at what had happened saying “he’s my best mate gone, gone. We went everywhere together, now he’s gone.”

The accused told gardai he and the three other men he had been drinking with that day went back to his apartment.

He said in an interview that “we got pissed drunk” and that Mr Flanagan started waving a gun around.

The accused said he had never seen his friend with a gun before and that he did not mention where he got it.

He said Mr Flanagan handed the gun to him but he did not think there were bullets in it.

“I said ‘give us a go of it’…gun goes off and I shot me mate”, he told gardai in an interview.

He said he threw the gun in the bushes outside the apartment and told his daughter the next morning what had happened before telling gardai later that day. He also told gardai where he had thrown the gun.

Deputy State Pathologist Khalid Jabbar told Ms Eileen O’ Leary SC prosecuting the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the back of the neck.

He agreed with Mr Patrick Marinan SC defending under cross-examination that the muzzle of the gun was either in actual contact or close contact when it was fired.

Dr Jabbar further agreed there was no evidence of an assault and that the deceased was in a seated position when he was shot.

Ballistics expert Detective Garda Alan Curry told Ms O’ Leary the firearm was found by a bush outside the apartment.

He said the weapon was Russian, had been re-barrelled and the serial number on the gun had been erased.

Det Gda Curry also said the gun was in poor condition but he fired it 100 times and it did not go off accidentally. He also told the court that he did all the tests and it passed every one of them.

Under cross-examination by Mr John Fitzgerald BL defending, he agreed that there was a step to carry out in order to make the gun safer, which was not done in this case.

The trial has already heard the deceased had no top on and was holding a can of Dutch Gold lager when he was found.

Gardai, who were alerted by neighbours, forced entry to the apartment and emergency services at the scene tried to revive Mr Flanagan but he was pronounced dead shortly after midnight.

The trial continues before a jury of seven men and three women presided over by Mr Justice Paul Carney.

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