Court told child was seen in INLA murder getaway car

 

A Belfast court has been told that a child was a passenger in the getaway car for the gunman who murdered INLA man Desmond McCleery in May last year. The Crown Court was told that two witnesses to the INLA feud murder in the Chicago Pizza Pie Factory off Belfast's Dublin Road spotted the child in the back of a dark-coloured Cavalier car allegedly driven by Lenadoon man Mr Brendan Patrick Gallagher. Mr Gallagher (31), of Carrigart Avenue, denies involvement in the murder of Mr McCleery (37) and possessing the .455 revolver used to shoot him once in the head and three times in the back.

Mr Gallagher's girlfriend, Ms Siobhan Ellen Boyle (28), of Colinvale, Poleglass, is accused of providing him with a false alibi for the afternoon of the shooting on May 25th last year.

Following Mr Gallagher's arrest in June last year she claimed that at the time of the shooting she and Mr Gallagher were together shopping in west Belfast.

Earlier, Mr Gordon Kerr QC, prosecuting, claimed Mr Gallagher was spotted in a dark-coloured Cavalier minutes after the shooting by an off-duty policeman. Mr Justice Girvan was told Mr McCleery was with a girl in the bar area of the restaurant when he tried to escape after spotting the gunman. Mr Kerr said that as Mr McCleery lay wounded by the door, the gunman stood over him and shot him three more times.

Mr Kerr said the gunman was then seen being driven off in a dark-coloured Cavalier car, registration number CDZ 3714, which had been parked, with its engine running, in nearby Hardcastle Street.

Minutes later an off-duty policeman driving home allegedly spotted Mr Gallagher at the wheel of a dark-coloured Cavalier. The officer noted CDZ as being the first three digits of its registration number.

Mr Kerr said that when arrested Mr Gallagher "refused to answer any questions about his connection with the vehicle concerned".

When charged he said: "I was not involved in the murder of Desmond McCleery. I was at Derryfarm complex on the Stewartstown Road. I have never had possession of any firearm."

Mr Kerr said it was the prosecution case that Mr Gallagher was the getaway driver in what he described as an "organised murder".

The trial continues next Monday.