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Victim's girlfriend wrestled with killer

A 35-year-old man has gone on trial accused of shooting dead a father-of-two in front of his partner and young son.

Garrett O'Brien, of Clover Hill, Bray, pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the murder of 27-year-old Seamus 'Shay' O'Byrne on March 13, 2009, at Tymon North Park, Tallaght.

He also denied a second charge of possession of a firearm with the intent to endanger life on the same date.

Opening the trial, prosecuting counsel Alexander Owens, told the jury they will hear evidence that the victim and his partner, Sharon Rattigan, who had two young children together, were preparing to head out for the night.

At around 8.15pm, while Ms Rattigan was placing her young child into the car to bring to a babysitter, a lone man dressed in a dark tracksuit with the hood pulled up, appeared at the front of the house and fired shots at Mr O'Byrne while he was closing the front door.

Mr O'Byrne fell to the ground and Ms Rattigan then accosted the gunman.

After a struggle ensued, Ms Rattigan received a flesh wound when a final bullet was fired from the gun, which also hit Mr O'Byrne.

Mr Owens told the jury they will hear evidence that Ms Rattigan and the gunman ended up in a next door neighbour's garden still struggling with each other and during the struggle the gunman's hoodie came off. Ms Rattigan managed to take the gun off him and refused to give it back.

He jumped up and ran off towards Tymon North Gardens.

The court also heard the gunman dropped two items during the struggle -- a full can of Red Bull bought in the Spar shop in Ballymount and a black Nokia mobile phone, which the prosecution says belonged to Garrett O'Brien.







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Mr Owens said the items will be "significant pieces of evidence".

He said it is the prosecution's case that on the day prior to the murder, and on the day of the murder, O'Brien travelled from Bray to Dublin in a 93MH registered Nissan Micra and the car was picked up by garda speed cameras on the Naas Road.

He said the jury will be shown CCTV footage of car movements connected to the murder at the Red Cow Moran Hotel car park in the days leading to the shooting and the prosecution will argue that the car park was a rendezvous point for the gang plotting the shooting.

He said that after the murder, O'Brien shaved his head and returned to the scene in a Nissan Micra car in an attempt to retrieve the mobile phone and dispose of the car.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie


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