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Costa victim's murder is kept from young son

THE partner of the Irish holidaymaker gunned down in Spain last week has yet to tell their three-year-old son that he is dead.

Good Samaritan John O'Neill (41) was shot dead outside a bar in the resort of Benalmadena after trying to defuse a row which broke out in the toilets.

His body has now been brought home after his family endured a "horrific" wait since last Tuesday for his body to be repatriated following delays with the Spanish authorities.

The Dubliner, who worked as a plasterer, is survived by his devastated partner Maxine Sutcliffe, and children John (3) and Jasmine (9 months).

His remains were transferred from an Aer Lingus flight to the State morgue by ambulance and funeral arrangements are expected to be made over the coming days.

The Coolock native was tragically killed while trying to intervene in a dispute in the pub he was drinking in during a short holiday on the Costa del Sol.

He was among a group of dozens of Irish holidaymakers who had flown to Spain for a wedding. But his relaxing trip turned into tragedy after he was killed by a lone gunman.



Peacemaker

It's understood a row broke out in Coco's Bar in the early hours of Wednesday, July 28 and although Mr O'Neill is believed to have acted as peacemaker, he was shot with a pistol.

The English suspect had been thrown out of the bar after causing problems with other customers.

But he returned a short while later armed with a 38-calibre revolver and fired five shots at the terrified customers and staff.

The Dublin man was fatally injured as a result after one of the shots caught him in the back as he ran for the exit.

Mr O'Neill stumbled out into the street and collapsed in a pool of blood by a bus stop 50 yards away, where he died, despite the efforts of paramedics to save him.

Maxine suffered a panic attack as a result of the incident but was unharmed in the shooting.

The gunman fled the scene and a Spanish judge has issued a European arrest warrant for the 35-year-old Englishman believed to be behind the attack.

mfinn@herald.ie


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