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Thursday 22 March 2018

Victim 'played' with gun hours before his death

Marius Simanaitis
Marius Simanaitis
Donatas Simanaitis
Irma Mali with her ex-boyfriend Danny O’Donoghue

Gareth Naughton

A man who died from a gunshot to the head had been playing with the weapon earlier in the evening, a fresh inquest into his death has heard.

Marius Simanaitis (27), a Lithuanian man living at the Mill Race Road apartments on the Navan Road in Dublin 15, died instantly in the incident at his home on March 11, 2009.

His death was the subject of an inquest at Dublin County Coroner's Court where a suicide verdict was recorded but later quashed in the High Court following a judicial review brought by his brother Donatas.

Marius was the ex-partner of model Irma Mali, the ex-girlfriend of Danny O'Donoghue from The Script. The couple had a daughter together.

At the fresh inquest into the death, Dublin Coroner's Court heard that Mr Simanaitis had been drinking with friends at his apartment since about 6pm the previous night.

Lukas Tiskevirias said Mr Simanaitis had been showing off the gun earlier in the evening before putting it away. Mr Simanaitis had been talking about being "cheated" out of a large sum of money which he was due to pass on to someone else and that his "friends could not trust him anymore", he said.

That night, Mr Simanaitis had blocked the door of the apartment with a barbell, drawn the curtains and would not allow anyone to go onto the balcony.

He had also been talking about his ex-partner and child. The last time Mr Tiskevirias saw Mr Simanaitis, he was sat with his head in his hands.

He told the court he was lying on the couch with his eyes closed at around 6am when he heard a scratching noise. He then heard a shot and someone falling to the ground. When he opened his eyes, he saw Mr Simanaitis on the ground with a pool of blood around him.

Vilius Muznikas, who was also present, said he had witnessed Mr Simanaitis "playing" with the gun.

"Marius picked up the gun and started playing with it. He was clicking the top part and taking in and out the part where the bullets were. I told him not to play with the gun, it was dangerous and he could shoot me or my girlfriend," he said.

The couple went to bed and were woken up by Mr Tiskevirias, who was screaming, having discovered Mr Simanaitis.

When gardai searched the apartment they found a kilogram of cannabis in Mr Simanaitis's bedroom.

Deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis told the court that death was due to a gunshot to the right of the head in an area well recognised as a site used by people inflicting wounds on themselves.

Dr Curtis said there was no evidence of assault. The toxicology report found Mr Simanaitis had been mildly intoxicated when he died and there was methamphetamine in his system. The inquest continues.

Irish Independent

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