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'I wrestled gun off hitman who shot my partner'

A WOMAN who saw her partner shot dead has told a court how she wrestled with the gunman and was also shot.

SHARON Rattigan (30) said a hooded man walked up to the driveway of their Tallaght home while she was placing her young son into a car, and pointed a gun at Seamus 'Shay' O'Byrne and shot him five times.

Garrett O'Brien (35), of Clover Hill in Bray, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr O'Byrne on March 13, 2009 at Tymon North Park in Tallaght.

He has also pleaded not guilty to a second charge of possession of a firearm with the intent to endanger life on the same date.



Stocky

Ms Rattigan was giving evidence on day two of the trial. She said she and her boyfriend of 11 years, Mr O'Byrne, were due to head out to meet friends in a pub that evening.

She said she was placing her 18-month-old son in the back of their black Saab car, parked on the road side of their house in Tallaght, to bring the child to a babysitter when she noticed a man walking towards the car.

She said the man was of stocky build and was wearing dark clothing with a hood pulled up over his face.

"He turned around towards Shay who was closing the front door of the house and started shooting at him. I saw the gun in his right hand. He fired around five shots," said Ms Rattigan.

She said when she ran towards the gunman and shouted at him to "leave Shay alone" the gunman turned the gun on her and shot her in the leg.

"I then grabbed hold of the gunman and he hit me on the head with the gun. I managed to get hold of the gun and we both tumbled over the neighbour's wall. He was shouting at me 'Give me the gun,'" she said.

She said the gunman was on top of her in the neighbour's garden while she held onto the gun. "It felt like we were there forever but we could have been a few minutes struggling," Ms Rattigan said.

She let go of the gunman after she heard her young child screaming.

"The gunman's hood then fell down and we looked at each other. I noticed he was pale and had a full face and black tight hair and clean shaven."

She said when the gunman ran off he seemed to check his pockets. She still had the gun and placed it on the driver's seat of their second car, a Seat Toledo, which was parked in the driveway. Several neighbours arrived at the scene along with an ambulance and gardai and Shay was unable to be revived. Ms Rattigan was brought to Tallaght Hospital where she received staples to her leg wound and signed herself out of hospital.

Earlier in the trial, Garda Derek Doyle gave evidence he went to examine a silver Ford Transit van which was seen in the vicinity prior to the shooting and located on the Derry Road in Crumlin after the shooting.



Wig

He told prosecuting counsel he discovered the number plates were false and found a black and a blonde wig in the vehicle along with a green rain jacket and trousers, a Vodafone mobile phone box and a petrol can.

He said he also found a newspaper dated March 12, 2009 and a second newspaper dated March 9, 2009 along with several Coca Cola bottles and water bottles, a plastic Dunnes Stores bag and a paper Spar bag in the van.

He agreed with defence counsel Feargal Kavanagh, that a vehicle can be a veritable gold mine for DNA but that he did not find any fingerprint marks on the plastic bottles, bar one and he did not swab the bottles for DNA.

The trial continues and is expected to last five weeks.

hnews@herald.ie


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