Saturday 7 December 2019

Man shot best friend in the head by accident, inquest told

Gardaí investigating the death of Paul 'Paulie' McCarthy 'could establish no definitive motive for the shooting' inquest told

The Coroner's Court in Dublin
The Coroner's Court in Dublin
Paul McCarthy with his father Pic: Facebook

Gardaí investigating the death of man whose friend said he shot him by accident could establish no “definitive motive” for the shooting, an inquest heard.

Paul “Paulie” McCarthy (19) of Balfe Road, Dublin 12, died at St James Hospital, on May 9, 2011, four hours after he had been shot in the head in the bedroom of his friend Christopher Lynch's house at Myra Close, Inchicore, Dublin 8.

At the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last December, Dean Short (21) of Lally Road, Ballyfermot, was sentenced to five and a half years, with the final 18 months suspended, after pleading guilty to the unlawful killing of Mr McCarthy.

Dublin coroner Dr Brian Farrell told a jury at Dublin Coroner's Court that this would normally be sufficient to register the death but the inquest was being completed at the family's request.

Detective Garda Anne McGowan told the inquest that when he was shot, Mr McCarthy was in the upstairs bedroom along with Short, Christopher Lynch, Dean Adams and Gary Cassin.

None were present to give evidence at the inquest.

Det Gda McGowan said that during the course of interviews, the men told gardaí they were having a “normal conversation” and smoking some cannabis when a handgun was produced.

Mr Lynch stated that the dead man had brought the handgun to the house earlier that day, she told the court.

“All the witnesses say that Paulie had the handgun in his hand and put it down on the bed and Dean Short picked the gun up and shot Paul McCarthy in the head, fatally injuring him,” she said.

All four men then fled the scene. Relatives of Mr Lynch, who were downstairs when the shooting happened, went to help Mr McCarthy.

He was taken to St James’s Hospital where he died later that evening.

Det Gda McGowan told the court that “no definitive motive has been established into the shooting of Paul McCarthy”.

“From the interviews it appears that Paul McCarthy was in Christopher Lynch’s bedroom and Dean Short had the gun in his hand and was asking him about a previous court appearance,” she said.

It is alleged that Short was wearing gloves and following the shooting he threw these, along with the gun, into the front garden of a house at the entrance to Myra Close as he left the scene, she added.

“Dean Short admits that he shot Paul McCarthy but that he did not intend to shoot him. He said he can’t remember how the gun went off even though it was explained to him that pressure had to be applied to the trigger for the gun to fire,” she said.

Deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis carried out the post-mortem and said that teh bullet entered Mr McCarthy’s head at his right temple and exited at the back.

It was a contact entry wound indicating that the gun had been held against the skin with no space between, he said.

A toxicology screen found morphine and lignocaine in the blood which may have been related to Mr McCarthy’s hospital treatment.

No other substances were found in his system. The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head causing very severe brain damage, he said.

The jury returned a verdict of death by manslaughter.

The McCarthy family declined to comment following the verdict.

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