Monday 11 December 2017

Worker feared man dressed as woman would abduct child, murder trial hears

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Eimear Cotter

A community officer who saw a man dressed as a woman hanging around a community complex rang gardaí as she was concerned he might take a child, a jury has heard.

Christopher McDonald (34) allegedly told the community officer "no, I'm grand", when she asked him if he was lost.

She initially thought the person was a woman but when he spoke realised he was a man.

Mr McDonald, from the East Wall area in Dublin 1, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Keith Walker (36) outside the Blanchardstown Pigeon Racing Club, Clonsilla, on June 12, 2015.

It is the State's case Mr McDonald disguised himself as a woman and shot Mr Walker 18 times with a submachine gun.

In her evidence, community officer Moira Hyland-Doyle said there had been a celebration at the community centre that day.

At around 4pm, she walked a woman and her child out to the gate and saw another woman with long black hair standing around. She was looking around an area where children play.

Ms Hyland-Doyle said the woman was wearing sunglasses, a dark jacket and leggings with a pink strip up the side.

She went back into reception and the person was still there, walking around.

She came back out and asked her if she was lost or looking for someone.

"No, I'm grand," the person said.

Ms Hyland-Doyle said she then realised the person was a man, not a woman.

She said she rang Blanchardstown garda station at around 4.30pm and told them there was someone hanging around and she was afraid they were going to take a child.

She waited until everyone left, and when she drove away at 5.10pm she saw the man had moved down Shelerin Road.

The jury also heard from a member of the pigeon club. When he arrived around 4.20pm, he saw someone with a wig, sunglasses and wearing cycling shorts at the entrance.

He told the court the person had a cigarette in his hand and he flicked out his arm. "He just didn't look like a woman," he said.

He clocked in his pigeons and stood outside talking to other club members.

The witness told the court the man with the wig was still there. He told the others it wasn't a woman and as he did so he saw him reach for something. It looked "about two feet long" and was "a big, big gun".

"It's a hitman," he screamed, as the man started firing.

He told the jury Mr Walker turned his head towards him when he screamed and then the "bullets were hitting him in the head".

Mr Walker fell to the ground face down. He was turned onto his back and the witness said he held his hand, telling him to "hang on".

He said he had met Mr Walker two or three times and he was "bubbly, a nice chap".

The witness said Mr Walker was always talking about his son and had told him he was getting married.

Earlier, the jury heard a man dressed in women's clothes stopped two teenagers at the junction of Whitestown Avenue and Whitestown Gardens, near the Lidl store, and asked for directions to the pigeon club.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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