A gunman lay in wait for a father-of-three and shot him in the face on his doorstep as his daughter slept upstairs, an inquest has heard.
Jason Carroll (39) died from gunshot wounds sustained in the attack at his home on Cherrywood Drive, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, on the evening of August 29, 2013.
The murder is believed to be part of a gangland feud.
His nephew Daniel Devoy told Dublin Coroner's Court that Carroll was a “family man who lived for his kids”. He said Carroll picked him and another man up after 8pm on the evening of his death. They drove to a garage in Ashbourne where Carroll got into another car for five to ten minutes. He did not say who he was meeting, just “one of the lads”, Mr Devoy said. They dropped the other passenger off and then went to Carroll’s mother’s house to collect a suitcase before going back to Cherrywood Drive. As Carroll walked up the driveway, shots rang out.
“I heard the bang - bang, bang, bang. After the first one, there were four or five bangs… I could see flashes but I could not see anyone”, Mr Devoy said.
A car then came up the road to pick up the gunman.
Mr Devoy said he did not know why his uncle was murdered and Carroll had not shown any concern about a threat to his life that evening.
Carroll’s partner Audrey Roche, her brother Harvey Roche and their mother were in the house. Ms Roche’s son was in the kitchen and the couple’s daughter was upstairs in bed. Mr Roche said the shots rang out and they saw blue flashes. “Audrey screamed 'get down',” he said. More shots were heard and then Carroll was heard saying “Audrey, it’s me, open the door”. Mr Roche opened the door and Carroll fell into the house. “He said ‘call an ambulance’… I don’t think he spoke at this point again,” he said.
Detective Garda Ronan Cowley said he arrived to find neighbours gathered at the house. There were “large” amounts of “fresh blood” on the doorstep and in the hallway, he said. When he went into the living room he saw Carroll on the ground with three men around him administering CPR. The dead man’s eyes were open and his breathing was weak, he said.
Paramedics arrived within minutes. Carroll was already in cardiac arrest, advanced paramedic Derek Fox told the court, and showing no signs of life. One of the shots was “into his left eye and exited his right cheek”, Mr Fox said. Carroll was taken to Tallaght Hospital where he was pronounced dead 40 minutes after being shot.
The post-mortem by state pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy found Carroll was shot once in the face and twice in the arm. The fatal injury was a bullet that passed through his arm and into his chest. The trajectory of all three were similar, shot from a distance and “likely” from a single gunman, she concluded.
Ms Roche said her partner had never said he was in fear for his life.
Detective Inspector Colm O’Malley said the investigation into Carroll’s death remains open. “The investigation suggests it was a targeted shooting, people were waiting for him to return home,” he said. The getaway car was found burnt out shortly after the incident and a weapon was recovered.
The jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing by persons unknown.