Woman feared she was ‘going to die’ after witnessing murder in filling station

Theresa Quinn has taken case against Topaz for psychological injuries over 2010 Limerick incident

Theresa Quinn (35)  has taken a case against Topaz Energy Group Ltd claiming psychological injuries arising out of trauma she suffered after witnessing a man being shot while she was working in a filling station. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Theresa Quinn (35) has taken a case against Topaz Energy Group Ltd claiming psychological injuries arising out of trauma she suffered after witnessing a man being shot while she was working in a filling station. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Footage of a delivery man being shot dead in a filling station 11 years ago has been shown in the High Court as part of a personal injuries case taken by a former Topaz staff member against the company.

Theresa Quinn (35), formerly of Killeely, Limerick, has taken a case against Topaz Energy Group Ltd claiming psychological injuries arising out of trauma she suffered after witnessing the man being shot four times.

John Coughlan (33), of Pineview Gardens, Moyross, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering Daniel Treacy (35) at the Topaz garage in Caherdavin, Limerick on February 22nd, 2010.

Ms Quinn, who was working behind the deli, recalled seeing Coughlan take a gun out of a bag before shooting Mr Treacy. She said she heard a shot, dropped to the floor, crawled into a store room and called the emergency services.

She said Topaz had not provided her with a panic button alarm used by other staff members. She said she kept “trying to mute the phone or hang up” so as not to alert Coughlan to where she was, but that the emergency dispatcher kept calling back seeking more details.

“I was thinking this is it, I’m going to die, he’s going to come in here and kill me,” Ms Quinn said.

She said she had casually spoken to Mr Treacy, a regular visitor on his delivery round, just before Coughlan shot him. Gardaí believe the murder was in revenge for another killing, but that Mr Treacy had no involvement in this.

PTSD

Dr Patrick Doyle, a retired consultant psychiatrist, treated Ms Quinn afterwards and diagnosed her with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder , depression, agoraphobia and insomnia.

He disagreed with findings in a report by another doctor, who later assessed Ms Quinn and concluded she was unlikely to suffer long-term effects.

Dr Doyle supported a claim by Ms Quinn’s legal team that her “terror was prolonged” by having to use her personal mobile phone in the absence of a panic button, He said she may have felt uncertain as to whether gardaí were coming when she kept receiving calls.

Ms Quinn agreed with Andrew Walker SC, for Topaz, that his client provided counselling for her and other staff members after the incident, checked in with her regularly and placed her on paid leave for a month.

He argued that the murder was “totally unforeseeable” and Ms Quinn could not have been spared the trauma of witnessing it.

The case continues.