Man tells inquest of attempt to comfort brother
THE BROTHER of a man who was gunned down in the street has told an inquest how he tried to comfort him in his final moments.
Stephen Byrne (32), Mariners Port, Sheriff Street, Dublin, was shot in the chest by a lone gunman on July 13th, 2010. He had attempted to use some of his friends as a shield in the moments as he was attacked.
Byrne was a well-known Dublin criminal and his death is believed to be part of a long-running feud.
Dublin Coroner’s Court heard from witness Geraldine Comerford that the gunman – wearing a balaclava and a hooded top – had approached Byrne and a scuffle ensued with both men pulling and dragging at each other. Byrne’s attacker then lifted a gun to his head and she heard a bang.
Byrne did not fall so his attacker then pointed the gun at his chest and fired. He then fell and the gunman escaped.
Eamon Byrne said he rushed to the scene after a frantic call from his mother telling him to go to Sheriff Street. When he got there his brother was lying on the ground. He tried to comfort him, he told the court. “I was talking to him and telling him that everything would be all right,” he said.
Byrne was pronounced dead at the Mater hospital shortly after the incident.
State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy found in a postmortem that Byrne had been shot once in the chest causing massive internal injuries which led to his death.
There was no evidence of a head injury.
Det Garda Insp Willie McKenna told the court that CCTV footage showed Byrne attempting to protect himself by using the other men with him as shields but they ran. Although witnesses had reported hearing two gunshots, gardaí are satisfied that only one shot was fired and that the sound may have ricocheted. The gunman escaped on a bicycle and the murder weapon was not recovered, he said.
Gardaí carried out an extensive investigation, making 13 arrests over two years, reviewing 600 hours of CCTV footage, conducting 1,500 house-to-house inquiries and taking 350 statements.
A file was submitted in relation to one of those arrested, but the DPP directed that there was insufficient evidence for prosecution.
Coroner Dr Brian Farrell called for any witnesses with evidence that could further the case to come forward. The jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing by a person unknown.