Man (26) was on phone to girlfiend when he was shot, inquest hears

Paul Cullen killed in Cabra House by gunman wearing white helmet and biker jacket

 Gardai at the scene after the shooting of Paul Cullen at The Cabra House  in Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

Gardai at the scene after the shooting of Paul Cullen at The Cabra House in Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

A 26-year-old Dublin man was was shot dead in his local pub was about to turn his life around, an inquest heard.

Paul Cullen of Fassaugh Avenue in Cabra, Dublin 7 was on the phone to his girlfriend Michelle Dixon when a gunman entered the Cabra House bar and fired multiple shots on March 3rd, 2013.

“The phone just went dead and when I rang back there was no answer,” Ms Dixon told Dublin Coroner’s Court.

The couple had been swimming and out to dinner with their daughter before he went to the pub shortly after 6pm. The pair were in constant contact between 6pm and 7pm but when she returned to the pub shortly after 7pm, he had been shot.

Noel Dunne grew up with the deceased and said the pair were like brothers. He told the inquest Cullen went to prison for five years and was released in May 2012.

“We became very close when he was released from prison. I don’t know of any enemies Paul had, he seemed like he was going to change his life,” Mr Dunne said.

On the night of the killing, he saw a man wearing a white helmet enter the bar and walk directly to over to Cullen.

“He was wearing a motorcycle jacket. He was taking big strides,” Mr Dunne said.

The gunman fired and everyone jumped, Mr Dunne said.

“I threw a glass at the gunman....and then I threw a stool at him. He pointed the gun at me and then walked out. I chased him,” Mr Dunne said.

The gunman escaped on the back of a waiting motorcycle.

Cullen was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.

His mother Patricia Cullen said he had been in great form on the day of his death and had visited her with his daughter. “That was the last time I saw him alive,” she said.

Cullen got involved in drugs at age 16 when he started taking “hash and cocaine”, she said. Later he was involved in an altercation with gardaí and received a prison sentence.

“We tried to get him to move to the UK to start fresh but he didn’t stay there,” Ms Cullen said.

Det Inspector Des McTiernan said the Garda investigation is ongoing. Garda took 229 statements as part of their inquiry and searched a large number of residential properties. Nobody has been charged with the murder.

“We are still appealing to the public for assistance. The investigation is live and open,” Det Insp McTiernan said.

The jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing by person or persons unknown.