Missing bullet may have saved life of woman
GARDAÍ INVESTIGATING the fatal shooting of a father of two in Tallaght three years ago say it was “most likely” that the victim’s girlfriend’s life was saved because the murder weapon had been missing a bullet.
Seamus O’Byrne (27) was fatally wounded when he was shot five times in front of his partner and child in the driveway of his home at Tymon Park North in Tallaght on March 13th, 2009.
One of the bullets also hit the victim’s partner, Sharon Rattigan, in the leg, as she wrestled the revolver from a hooded gunman.
Garrett O’Brien (35) has pleaded not guilty to murder, and also denies a second charge of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life on the same date.
The jury heard that the alleged murder weapon was a 9mm Webley and Scott revolver, containing five spent Cascade cartridges out of a possible six.
Det Garda Alan Curry told the court that one live round of ammunition matching those used in the revolver was found in a car involved in the shooting.
When asked by Feargal Kavanagh SC, defending, whether Ms Rattigan’s life had probably been saved because of the fact that this sixth round of ammunition was lost, the garda replied “most likely”.
Ballistics expert Det Garda Jeannette O’Neill told the jury that Mr O’Byrne’s gunshot wounds were consistent with the Webley and Scott revolver found sitting on the front driver seat of a Seat Toledo parked in the driveway.
She told the jury that the revolver bore proof marks to show that it had been deactivated in the UK in 2004 but had since been reactivated and the firing-pin had been rebuilt.
The jury heard that the unspent bullet, which was the same make and model as those used in the Webley and Scott revolver, was found in the passenger door pocket of a blue Volkswagen Passat believed to have been involved in the shooting. Gardaí also found two different makes of black gloves near the murder scene, one in a garden and one stuffed into a drain, which tested positive for gunshot residue.
It is the prosecution’s case that Mr O’Brien was part of a gang which had plotted to shoot Mr O’Byrne at his home.
The trial continues before Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley and a jury of eight men and four women. It is expected to last a further month.