Monday 22 January 2018

My mate got shot" - friends tell of shooting in Limerick

TWO men who were in a car with their friend when he was shot in Limerick city two years ago have given evidence at the trial of a man accused of his attempted murder.

Shane Mason (30), of Seán Heuston Place in Limerick, has pleaded not guilty to shooting Daniel Philips with intent to kill at St John's Square in the city on May 24th, 2010.

Mason has also denied three charges of causing serious harm to Mr Philips, now aged 24, and of posessing a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life on the same date.

The court heard that Daniel Philips had been driving his black Volkswagon Passat with two friends through St John's Square when the first shots were fired at him about 9.30 pm on the night in question.

26-year-old Gary Kelly, who was in the passenger seat, described hearing loud bangs and seeing Daniel start to reverse the car, before slumping over the wheel.

Mr Kelly said he then reached over and pressed on the accelerator and clutch with his hands, looking up at the tops of buildings to determine where he was driving.

A short distance later Mr Kelly stopped the car and manoevred his friend Danny into the back seat, before driving at speed to Limerick Regional Hospital.

Noel Stanners (20), a backseat passenger in the car, told the court he heard bangs and saw Danny slouched over the wheel with blood on his head.

Detective Garda David Nolan said that at about 9.40pm he pulled over the car which was driving at high speed towards the hospital, and saw the victim in the back with a serious head injury.

"It was extremely bloody, there seemed to be white matter in the back seat. I took one quick look at him and knew it was life or death, I told them to go on to the hospital," he said.

The jury heard that Danny Philips was shot in the abdomen and also in the back of the head, causing a bullet to be lodged in his skull.

Ms Úna Ní Raifertaigh SC, prosecuting, said the victim spent almost a month in a coma and that his recovery from life-threatening injuries was "a blessing".

The court also heard from a ballistics expert who said that although no weapon was recovered, cartridges and bullets were found at the scene that had been fired from a Glock semi-automatic pistol.

The jury will hear that the accused man, Shane Mason, was arrested about an hour after the shooting, wearing a bullet proof vest.

One taxi driver who witnessed the shooting described seeing "bright orange flashes" and then watching as the gunman calmly tucked the gun in the front of his tracksuit pants before running away.

Another Latvian man who saw the shooting from his apartment said the gunman's body language as he fired the shots was "like in the movies", and that minutes later he saw the same man on a bicycle travelling at speed across the square.

The trial resumes Thursday under Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and a jury of seven men and five women.

It's expected to last up to three weeks.

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