Man shot in back in drive-by shooting, court hears

A Limerick man was fatally shot in his back as he chatted on the street during a Saturday afternoon, a court was told today.

The Central Criminal Court in Dublin heard that the drive-by shooting happened minutes after he left his partner to visit his mother.

Stephen O’Sullivan (aged 20), of Galtee View, O’Malley Park, Southill, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mark Moloney (aged 40) at South Claughan Road, Garryowen, Limerick on April 5, 2008.

Patrick McCarthy SC, prosecuting, said that at about 2.45pm, the victim was chatting to a man painting Garryowen House, when a black Toyota car arrived from the Garryowen direction.

Shots were fired from the car towards Garryowen House, he said in his opening speech at Mr O’Sullivan’s trial. The car moved on and more shots were fired towards Mr Moloney before the car sped away.

“He had tried to dive behind a van,” he said of the victim. However a 9mm bullet struck him in the back and he died shortly afterwards despite medical attention.

A number of people reported the incident to gardaí. The car was found burnt out in Drombanna, about 10km away and Mr O’Sullivan was arrested that evening.

Local man Seán Kelly also dove for cover when the shooting started as he went into Garryowen Stores that afternoon.

“The car came around the corner and I hit the deck because they were firing,” he testified, adding that this happened ‘in the space of about two seconds’.

He said he saw two people in the car as it turned a corner and the gunfire began.

“The window was down,” he recalled of the passenger door. “The upper half of his (passenger’s) body was out the window… He was sitting out on the door, leaning on the roof… He had a gun in his hand.”

He estimated that this man was in his 20s.

“I got the hell out of the way,” he said. “I went down in front of my car. I didn’t look.”

When the car had sped away, Mr Kelly saw the victim lying behind a van.

The victim’s partner, Lorraine O’Doherty, said she had known Mr Moloney all her life and had been in a relationship with him for eight years. They had spent that morning together in the city centre and had walked the eight minutes to Garryowen together afterwards.

“On the way down the road, Mark went to visit his mother and I went to visit my mother,” she recalled. “About 10 to 15 minutes later I got a call to say Mark had been up in Garryowen and was shot.”

The trial before Mr Justice Barry White and a jury of six women and six men is expected to last three to four weeks.


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