Criminal who rang Liveline was warned life was in danger

Daly was bringing a group of friends back to his house for a party when he was shot

A file image of the taxi in which John Daly was a front seat passenger and shot in Finglas, Dublin, in 2007. Photograph: The Irish Times

A file image of the taxi in which John Daly was a front seat passenger and shot in Finglas, Dublin, in 2007. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

A Dublin criminal who made headlines when he rang Liveline from his prison cell was shot dead down as he arrived home after a night out, an inquest heard.

John Daly (27) from Cloonlara Drive in Finglas, Dublin 11, died in the early hours of October 22, 2007, when gunmen fired six shots into his head and chest.

Just months before his death, he had prompted a public outcry and subsequent clampdown on contraband in prisons when he rang Liveline from his cell in Portlaoise to confront journalist Paul Williams. He was nearing the end of a nine-year prison sentence at the time.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that Daly had been warned by gardaí that his life was in danger just one week before the attack.

On the night of his death, he was drinking with friends and family and after being refused entry to a number of city centre niteclubs decided to bring a group back home for a party.

Having purchased alcohol at a house in Finglas, they headed to Cloonlara Drive. As the taxi arrived, another car pulled up behind them. Daly and his companions were searching for money to pay their fare when the gunman attacked, shooting repeatedly through the passenger window.

The court heard that taxi driver Francis O’Neill was lucky to escape alive. He became trapped under the dead man when he slumped over as he was being shot.

“When the shots stopped I managed to press the button for the seat belt and I struggled out of the car. I fell out onto the road on my hands and knees,” he said.

When he looked up Mr O’Neill saw a black jeep speeding away from the scene.

Daly died instantly from multiple injuries.

There were angry exchanges in the court as the dead man’s mother Marian Daly questioned Garda Michelle Whelan about her decision to go to the scene rather than pursue a black Honda Civic-type car which passed her patrol car at speed around the time of the incident.

“We would have gotten justice today if she had followed that,” she said.

However, Gda Whelan said a shooting takes precedence over a traffic incident and at the time she had no reason to believe the car was involved.

Detective Inspector Colm Murphy said that gardaí could not rule the speeding car out of their inquiries but that a burned out jeep was found shortly after the incident.

Despite an extensive investigation, nobody has ever faced trial in relation to the murder and there is no prospect of this happening in the near future, he said.

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