DNA matching a murder accused was identified on a glove and wig found alongside the sub-machine gun alleged to have been used in an attack that left a 36-year-old dead, a trial heard today, writes Eoin Reynolds.
Dr Edward Connolly of Forensic Science Ireland told the trial of Christopher McDonald that he tested a number of items found in a laneway four days after Keith Walker was shot 18 times in the car park of the Blanchardstown Pigeon Racing Club on Shelerin Road in Clonsilla on June 12, 2015.
Mr McDonald (34), from the East Wall area of Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to Mr Walker's murder. He is on trial at the Central Criminal Court.
The jury previously heard from Detective Sergeant Paul Tallon that he found the glove and wig along with a brown handbag, ear plug and sub-machine gun in a laneway at Sheepmoor Grove in Blanchardstown after receiving a tip-off from a local resident. Detective Garda David O'Leary has also told the jury that he tested the gun and was satisfied that it was the one used to shoot Mr Walker.
Having tested swabs taken from all these items, Dr Connolly told prosecuting counsel Denis Vaughan Buckley SC that he found DNA matching the accused on both the inside and outside of the clear plastic glove and on the black wig. The chances of finding a person unrelated to Mr McDonald with the same profile would be considerably less than one in one thousand million, he said. DNA found on the strap of the bag and on the gun were not suitable for interpretation. The ear plug had a DNA profile that was not that of the accused man.
Dr Thomas Hannigan, also of Forensic Science Ireland, said he examined the wig, glove and other items for firearms residue. He said that when he received the items he understood that they had been found during the investigation of the murder of Keith Walker, who was shot multiple times by a shooter wearing women's clothes.
He said the wig and glove tested positive for firearms residue and that the residue was similar to that found on items at the scene of the shooting. His conclusion was that this evidence provides strong support that the glove and wig were worn by the shooter. He did not find firearms residue on swabs taken from the accused man.
He offered three possible explanations for the failure to find firearms residue on Mr McDonald, saying he may not have been the shooter, or he was the shooter but his hands and face were covered, or the residue was lost in the 12 hours between the shooting and when the samples were taken. He added that these are not the only possibilities.
Dr Hannigan also examined face swabs that gardaí took from the accused, which they believed to be make-up. Dr Hannigan said the swabs were "insufficient for analysis" so he could say nothing further about them.
During cross examination Dr Hannigan agreed with defence counsel Bernard Condon SC that the science labs have precautions in place to prevent contamination of items that are being analysed.
Superintendent Colm Murphy agreed with Mr Condon that he was aware that a woman in the Whitestown area of Blanchardstown had told gardaí that a man called to her house, aged in his early 20s, and asked her to dress him up as a woman. He said he was also aware of a Dublin Bus driver who told gardaí he had seen a number of men on his bus dressed as women. Superintendent Murphy said these were among more than 400 statements taken by gardaí investigating Mr Walker's murder.
The trial will continue tomorrow in front of Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of six men and six women.