There were no known threats against the life of a man who was gunned down in broad daylight beside a Luas track in full view of passengers on a tram, an inquest has heard.
Michael Kelly Jnr (27), a father-of-three from Slievenamon Road in Drimnagh, south Dublin was murdered on July 15, 2013 beside the red line Luas tracks near Suir Bridge in Dublin 8. Dublin Coroner's Court heard that a single gunman shot him three times in the head and chest.
His murder is believed to be drug related.
Kelly’s partner Vicky Ryan said she was too upset to take the stand but her deposition was read into the record. She said there was “nothing unusual" prior to his death and "no disputes or arguments with anyone” that she knew of. On the morning of his death he left their home to go buy a newspaper at around 10.15am. This was normal routine for Kelly, the court heard. After 30 minutes she noticed police cars gathered across the road from their house and had a "bad feeling” so went to investigate. She ran over to the Luas line and saw the body before gardaí stopped her going further.
Ms Ryan said she did not know why her partner was killed. He had not told her he was in fear for his life. “He hadn’t arranged to meet anyone that morning and I don’t know if he got any calls,” she said.
Luas driver Paul McKeon said the tram was approaching Suir Bridge when he saw a man wearing a light blue hoodie running across the tracks. He then heard three or four “subdued” bangs and when he looked across he saw this man standing over the victim holding a silver object which he took to be a gun. The gunman then walked back toward Rialto before breaking into "a trot". The shooter was driven away from the scene by another person.
Garda Marcus Regan arrived at the scene within minutes and found the victim lying on his back with a visible puncture wound near his heart. “His eyes were open and he appeared lifeless,” he said. He attempted CPR but there was no response, he told the inquest.
The gun and silencer gardaí believe were used in the murder were recovered from a burnt out car less than half a mile away shortly after the shooting. Ballistics examiner Detective Garda David O’Leary said the pistol, which was severely damaged by fire, was a Russian model which had never been encountered in Ireland before. The general characteristics of the bullets retrieved were consistent with being fired from this gun but gardaí were unable to definitively link it to the murder, the court heard.
Detective Inspector Sean Campbell said a file on the murder was submitted to the DPP who “came back with no prosecution at this time”. The investigation continues. Gardaí were unaware of any threats against Kelly’s life at the time, he said, but he agreed that it was a targeted shooting by someone who knew his movements.
The post-mortem by deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis found that Kelly was shot in the chest, back and on the left side of the head. Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said the post-mortem indicates that he probably died very quickly.
The jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing by a person or persons unknown.