A murder trial witness has described how she held the hand of Noel 'Duck Egg' Kirwan and talked to him just minutes after he was shot outside his Dublin home.
Mr Kirwan (62) was sitting in his car at St Ronan's Drive, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 on December 22nd, 2016 when a gunman shot him six times with a Makarov handgun which was later recovered.
Jason Keating (27), of Lower Main Street, Rush, Co Dublin has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Kirwan.
Bernadette Roe, the deceased's partner, told the Special Criminal Court on Tuesday that she was in the passenger seat of his Ford Mondeo at the time of the attack and he told her "I've been shot". They had just returned from a Christmas lunch in Crumlin with Ms Roe's daughter.
Ms Roe’s daughter Carolyn Murray told the court on Wednesday that she lived around the corner from her mother in St Ronan’s Park. She had known Noel since she was a child and said when her mother began a relationship with him he would often call around to her for tea and cake.
Ms Murray said she was aware Noel had bought a new car just weeks before his death and he gave her a lift in it for the first time on December 20. They made a plan that day to have lunch together as a family on December 22 and he told her he would pick her up at 2pm, she said.
The witness testified that after lunch on December 22 he drove her and her daughter through Inchicore before dropping them off at their house.
Ms Murray said she was only in the door when she got a phone call from her mother who was hysterical on the line. “I flew into the car and around to my mother’s road,” she said.
The witness said that as she made her way to her mother’s house she saw a small white van at the corner of the estate and it looked like it was contemplating where to go. “It was at a stand-still, it wasn’t moving,” she added.
Ms Murray said it was not until someone told her that a white van had driven away from the scene did she “twig” what she had just seen.
Ms Roe gave evidence on Tuesday that she ran from the car as her partner was shot and saw the gunman jump into the side of a white van as it drove away.
Ms Murray said that she saw Noel “slumped” over the gear stick of his car outside her mother’s house and said she shouted for someone to get him a blanket. She said she got into the passenger side of his car and held his hand. “I talked to him to make sure he was ok and I stayed with him until the ambulance arrived,” she added.
John Joyce, a neighbour of Ms Roe, said he was sitting in his front room watching television on the afternoon of December 22 when he noticed a white van parked across the road. He did not see anyone in the driver’s seat.
Mr Joyce testified that he heard “a pop” at 5pm and it sounded like a window shattering. “I saw a small hole in Noel’s window, the driver’s window,” he said. Mr Joyce said he then heard Ms Roe screaming that Noel had been shot.
Mr Joyce said he went over to the car and saw “one small hole” at the side of Noel’s right eye. “I lifted up his head and talked to him and told them to ring an ambulance as he was still alive,” he said.
Detective Garda Alan Curry, a firearms and explosives examiner, testified that he examined a 9mm Makarov handgun which had been recovered in the grass at the end of a row of houses along St Ronan’s Drive. A silencer was attached and its breach was empty, he said. The witness told the prosecution that seven bullets in total were recovered at the scene so at least seven shots had been fired but he believed six shots struck the deceased. One of the discharged bullets was found on the passenger seat of Mr Kirwan’s car and all the discharged ammunition came from the Makarov handgun, he concluded.
Sergeant Damien Gannon gave evidence that he carried out an examination of Mr Kirwan’s car, a Ford Mondeo, after it was transferred to Ballyfermot Garda Station on December 23. He found a ‘Gotek’ electronic tracking device underneath the vehicle, it was covered in black rubber and was attached to the undercarriage of the car with two very strong magnets. Sgt Gannon said he recovered the internals of this device as he thought it may contain electronic data before he passed it on to be examined on January 6, 2017.
It is the the prosecution’s case that this tracking device had been put under the car in the weeks leading up to Mr Kirwan’s killing and a number of items - including an instruction manual for the same device - link Mr Keating to the attack.
Garda Niall Duffy, attached to the telecommunications section of An Garda Síochána, said he got a request from Chief Superintendent Lorraine Wheatley to contact the manufacturer of the ‘Gotek 7’ electronic tracking device to retrieve data.
Garda Duffy testified that he requested a “log-on” to access the data and he received an “internet link back, a URL” which he then forwarded on to the relevant person.
Under cross-examination by Michael Bowman SC, defending, Garda Duffy agreed that he he was requesting specific information in relation to a tracking device and a unique IMEI number was provided.
In his opening address, prosecution counsel Paul Greene SC told the three-judge court that the murder of Mr Kirwan arose from a “notorious feud” between two criminal factions but the deceased had no connection with either side.
A photo of Mr Kirwan pictured beside his "long-time" friend Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch at the funeral of Eddie Hutch was widely used by newspapers in the lead-up to his death, the non-jury court has heard.
The trial continues on Thursday before Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Sinead Ni Chualachain and Judge Cormac Dunne.