Saturday 24 February 2018

Shots to head led to pigeon fan's 'rapid death', court hears

Keith Walker
Keith Walker

Eimear Cotter

A pigeon racing enthusiast allegedly shot dead by a man in drag drove a friend's partner's car to the scene because his friend was banned from driving, a jury has heard.

Keith Walker took his friend Jason O'Connor's pigeons to Blanchardstown Racing Pigeon Club in Clonsilla because the birds were taking part in a race the next day.

Mr Walker was struck by 18 bullets in the club's car park and would have suffered a "rapid death" after he was hit by two bullets to the head, a pathologist said.

Christopher McDonald (34) has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Walker outside the club in Clonsilla on June 12, 2015.

It is the State's case that Mr McDonald, from the East Wall area of Dublin 1, disguised himself as a woman and fatally shot Mr Walker with a submachine gun.

Mr O'Connor's statement to gardaí was read into evidence by prosecution lawyer Denis Vaughan Buckley.

He said he had known Mr Walker for two years. They became friends after he loaned Mr Walker a female pigeon, or hen, and he had successfully bred off that bird.

Mr O'Connor said there was a pigeon race on the weekend in question, and Mr Walker had come over to help him with his birds.

The witness told gardaí that Mr Walker had helped to load the birds into Mr O'Connor's partner's car.

Mr Walker then drove the car, a black Toyota Avensis, over to the pigeon club.

Mr O'Connor said he couldn't drive because he was the subject of a 10-year ban at the time.

He didn't go to the pigeon club with Mr Walker because he was "tired".

Mr O'Connor said he rang Mr Walker and then sent him a text message to tell him which birds to enter into the competition.

However, there was no response from him and, when he heard an ambulance, he started to get worried.

He rang another friend, who told him Mr Walker was dead.

Mr O'Connor told gardaí he was "still in shock" and "totally devastated".

State pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy said the cause of Mr Walker's death was multiple gunshot wounds to his head and upper body.

Prof Cassidy said wounds to the head would have resulted in his "rapid death".

Prof Cassidy also said the bullet wounds were consistent with a "rapid burst of gunfire".

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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