Thursday 26 April 2018

Witness in murder trial retracts statement and claims she was threatened by gardai

A WITNESS in a murder trial told gardai the accused came to her house, banging down her door, admitted he shot a man and showed her the gun.

Stacey Douglas, a step-niece of the accused man, said in her initial statement to gardai which she made two weeks after the shooting dead of Aidan Byrne, that the accused told her he shot someone outside the Cattle Market at Drumalee Estate in Dublin.

However, in the witness box yesterday, she retracted her initial statement and told the jury her statement was wrong.

She said she made it because gardai told her "to tell them what they wanted to hear" so she could go home and she claimed they threatened that her daughter would be taken away. It was day two of the trial.

Jonathan Douglas (27) of O'Devaney Gardens has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the murder of Aidan Byrne at Drumalee Avenue in Dublin on February 20, 2010.

In Ms Douglas' initial statement to gardai, which was read out in court by prosecuting counsel Mr Gerard Clarke, SC, she said Douglas, whose nickname is Yuka, was "wax-colour and pale" when he came banging at her door at around 9pm on the night of the shooting.

"He was hyper and shaking and told me someone called him out of O'Rea's pub and said he would give him money to shoot a passenger in a car," her statement said.

"He was ranting on about the shooting and he mentioned someone Byrne," she said.

"He lifted up his hoodie and I saw a gun tucked into his jeans. It was black and about seven inches long. I told him to get it out of my house."

"He asked could he wash the gun powder off him and used salt to wash himself. He had sick on his tracksuit bottoms and asked could he borrow a clean pair of bottoms."

The 23-year-old mother-of-one said in her statement Douglas asked her could he leave the gun in her house. "I wouldn't let him and he said sorry to me for visiting my place and ran off," her statement continued.

But in the witness box, she told the jury she "went back to the gardai loads of times" because her statement was wrong.

"The gardai told me I made my statement and there's nothing I can do about it now," she told defence counsel Mr Michael Higgins, SC.

In evidence she said on the morning of March 6, 2010 there was a knock on the door and a number of gardai were outside.

"Two coppers stood over me and were roaring at me asking me where did I hide the gun and that I had something to do with this. I was terrified," she said.

She said she was brought to the garda station and said gardai told her to "just tell us what we want to hear and we will let you go home."

"They told me my daughter would be taken away if I didn't do this," she said.

"I told them I'm not standing by my initial statement and that it wasn't true," Ms Douglas told defence counsel.

She denies being put under pressure to change her statement and denies being in fear of giving evidence.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Paul Carney and a jury of seven men and five women.

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