Tuesday 16 January 2018

Wife's tribute to 'loving dad' as hitman in drag gets life

Keith Walker
Keith Walker

Eimear Cotter

The wife of an innocent dad-of-two shot dead by a gunman in drag has described him as "kind, caring and loving".

Lorraine Walker said the worst day of her life was when she had to tell her two boys their father Keith was dead.

Mrs Walker said the look on their faces when she delivered the terrible news their father was gone, that he had been brutally murdered, will "never leave me".

Christopher McDonald (34) was found guilty before the Central Criminal Court of the murder of Mr Walker, outside Blanchardstown Pigeon Racing Club, in Clonsilla, on June 12, 2015.

There were cheers and applause in the courtroom when the verdict was announced, with one man shouting "you scumbag, junkie bastard, I hope you rot" at the defendant.

McDonald showed little reaction when the verdict was delivered, after two hours and six minutes of deliberations by the jury.

Christopher McDonald seen in this CCTV image leaving the scene of the murder
Christopher McDonald seen in this CCTV image leaving the scene of the murder

The defendant, from the East Wall area of Dublin's north inner city, had pleaded not guilty to the murder.

During the trial, the jury heard Mr Walker was only at the pigeon club because he was delivering his friend Jason O'Connor's pigeons to the club as they were involved in a race the next day.

Mr O'Connor was banned from driving at the time.

So Mr Walker drove Mr O'Connor's partner's car to the club.

It was the State's case McDonald disguised himself as a woman and shot 35-year-old Mr Walker 18 times with a sub-machine gun.

He died at the scene as a result of multiple gunshot wounds to his head and body.

Eye-witnesses described hearing shouts of "hitman", before shots were fired and they "hit the floor".

The court had heard during the trial that McDonald was wearing make-up, a long black wig, sunglasses, black gloves, black leggings and a black cardigan when he carried out the shooting.

DNA matching McDonald was identified on a glove and on a wig found alongside the sub-machine gun used in the attack.

McDonald was also captured on CCTV just minutes after the murder dressed in women's clothing.

In her victim impact statement, an emotional and tearful Mrs Walker said she and her husband were childhood sweethearts and were together for 17 years.

Mr Walker was her soulmate and her best friend, she said, and she loves him and misses him every single day.

How anyone could kill another individual she doesn't know, she said, and to the killer she said "shame on them".

Mrs Walker said that her husband was an innocent man, who was taken from her and her boys for "no reason".

Mr Walker's sister Michelle said Keith was a "proud father, amazing brother and a loving son".

He was "loved" by his family and is "dearly missed".

She said that he was a good man, who enjoyed the simple things in life.

She said he had the ability to convert a room full of strangers into one of friends.

She said that her brother enjoyed many sports, but his main hobby was pigeon racing, which he had enjoyed since his childhood.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy sentenced McDonald to the mandatory life in prison.

Irish Independent

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