Man tells Criminal Court he thought Sunset House shooting was a 'wind up'

Man tells Criminal Court he thought Sunset House shooting was a 'wind up'
Michael Barr was shot in at the Sunset House pub in Dublin last year.

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A bullet and mobile phone were found beside the alleged getaway car used after the fatal shooting of the manager of the Sunset House pub in Dublin last year, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Eamonn Cumberton (30) of Mountjoy Street, Dublin 7, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 35-year old Michael Barr in the Sunset House pub in Dublin’s north inner city on April 25, 2016.

It is the prosecution's case that Mr Cumberton is "inextricably linked" to items recovered from a partially burnt-out car near the scene and that the items themselves were "inextricably linked" to the shooting.

The non-jury court heard evidence today related to the alleged getaway car.

James Fogarty had previously told the court that on the night of the shooting he saw a car drive up onto the path on Walsh Rd in Drumcondra before three people got out.

There were "flames in the passenger side", the court had heard.

Mr Fogarty told the prosecuting counsel Dominic McGinn today/yesterday (Thurs) that one of the people "might have dropped something shiny or bright... within a foot or so of the car".

He said that the people ran towards a silver car.

Under cross-examination, Mr Fogarty told Bernard Condon SC, for Mr Cumberton, that he did not see anybody else going over and opening the door of the car.

"Was that you?" the barrister asked.

"No," the witness said.

Detective Garda Michael Harkin told Mr McGinn that he drove to Walsh Rd, where he saw a grey Audi with smoke coming out of the front passenger window.

The court heard that the detective extinguished the fire.

He said that he then noticed a phone ringing on the ground, close to the vehicle, and what appeared to be a 9mm bullet.

He said that he covered the bullet with a glove, to make sure it was not disturbed, and placed the phone in an evidence bag.

Under cross-examination, Det Gda Harkin told Mr Condon that the bullet "never moved".

"Did you stare at it for the entirety of the time?" Mr Condon asked.

"I was close by," the detective said, "making sure there was no evidence interfered with."

He added that when he left the scene the bullet was in the "exact same place".

Garda Emmett O'Byrne told Ronan Kennedy BL, prosecuting, that he saw one round on 9mm ammunition on the ground near the Audi's rear passenger-side wheel.

He told Mr Condon that no civilians came over to the car.

He later agreed with the defence barrister that he could not say whether the car's doors had been opened by any other authorized personnel.

Earlier, Stephen Clifford told Mr McGinn that he was in the Sunset House, where he was organizing a raffle, on the night of the shooting.

The court heard that he was standing about four or five feet away from Mr Barr when he saw "two boys coming in with masks, putting a gun to his [Mr Barr's] head".

He said they were wearing "rubbery Halloween masks" which were "like an old man's face".

Mr McGinn asked, "How close did the men come to Mr Barr?"

"They were on top of him," the witness said.

Mr Clifford said that "because there was a bit of messing going on, a bit of banter, I thought it was a wind-up, until I saw him [Mr Barr] at my feet."

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Micheal Curtis told the court that Mr Barr died from seven gunshot wounds, five to the head and one each to the shoulder and leg.

He said the wounds to the head were consistent with shots being fired from close range.

The trial continues in front of Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, sitting with Judge Patricia Ryan and Judge James Faughnan.

Earlier:

A man has told the Special Criminal Court he thought it was a "wind up" when he saw a man being shot right in front of him in his local pub.

He was giving evidence in the trial of Eamon Cumberton who is accused of murdering Michael Barr at the Sunset House pub in Dublin last year.

Stephen Clifford said he had been in the Sunset House pub for about three and a half hours on the evening of April 25, 2016 when two masked men wearing rubbery Halloween masks walked into the bar.

He said he had been talking to the bar manager Michael Barr who was only four or five feet away from him at the time.

He said one of the men looked like he was carrying a gun and he said they were on top of Mr Barr in seconds.

He said one of them shot him from just a few millimetres away. He told the court he heard three bangs, like taps.

He said they were not very loud and he thought it was a wind up until he saw Mr Barr dying at his feet.

A post mortem established he was shot five times in the head, once in the shoulder and once in the leg.

Eamon Cumberton, who is from Mountjoy Square, Dublin 7, denies the murder charge.

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