Thursday 21 November 2019

Young boy described how ‘Shay’ O’Byrne was shot, court hears

Natasha Reid

A YOUNG Dublin boy told gardai investigating a murder that he saw a man shoot another man in his back while the child was out playing with friends.

The then 13-year-old’s statement was read to the Central Criminal Court today in the trial of a 35-year-old Wicklow man charged with murdering a young father.

Garrett O'Brien of Clover Hill in Bray has pleaded not guilty to murdering father-of-two Séamus O'Byrne in front of his girlfriend and baby son. He has also pleaded not guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life on the same occasion.

A man wearing a dark, hooded tracksuit shot the 27-year-old five times in the driveway of his house at Tymon Park North, in Tallaght on March 13th 2009.

Alexander Owens SC, prosecuting, yesterday read out the statement that gardai took from the boy, who cannot be named because of his age.

He said he had been out playing with friends on Tymon North Green around 8pm on the evening of the killing.

“I could see two men standing at the end of the laneway,” he said, adding that he found them suspicious as he had seen them standing in the same place a week earlier when he was walking home from school.

He described one of the men as being “tall and fat”.

“He had his right hand inside his jacket,” he continued, adding that the man was on the phone.

“Then I heard three or four loud bangs,” he recalled. “I got a fright. I thought they were bangers.”

He said he looked back and saw a man at the front door of a house.

“As he was trying to put the key in the door, the man I’d seen on the phone … He was shooting the man at the hall door in his back,” he said. “I could only see the flash of shots.”

He said there was a woman with blonde hair standing near the injured man.

“She was holding a baby on her right side,” he continued. “I heard her shouting: ‘What are you doing?’.”

He said he told his friends to run, that ‘there’s someone getting shot’ and that they all ran until they saw a light blue car parked in Tymon North Gardens.

“As we ran past that car, I was about to knock on the door and ask for help,” he said. However, he explained that he then saw the gunman in the car.

“I could see that the man with the gun was in the passenger seat. The small man was driving,” he said. “So I didn’t knock. I ran on.”

The boy said that this car drove off fast and that he and his friends ran home. He said that as they passed the scene of the shooting, he could see neighbours putting a towel over the victim.

The trial continues before Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley and a jury of eight men and four women.

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