By Eoin English
A jury has returned a verdict of unlawful killing following an inquest into the death of a man who was gunned down in front of his partner and her two children in a gangland-style shooting in Cork city just over six years ago.
The jury at Cork City Coroner's Court took less than five minutes to decide the verdict this morning after hearing detailed evidence from Gerald Topper Stuanton's partner, Karen Quilligan O'Flynn about their final moments on January 20, 2010.
She told the inquest that she and her partner had just left their home at Westlawn, off Sarsfield’s Road on the city’s southside, just before 8pm.
She said she was holding her two-year old daughter in her arms, and that Mr Staunton had just placed her seven year old daughter in his new car when a lone gunman approached.
He was wearing black clothes, gloves and a balaclava and stood about six feet from her partner.
She said Mr Staunton raised his left arm, and said: "Ah don't" before the gunman fired two shots at point black range.
Mr Staunton suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the chest and despite medical attention, died at the scene.
Assistant State pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster said the cause of death was shock and haemorrhage due to a gunshot wound to the chest, with lacerations to the lungs, heart and aorta.
The gunman fled in a red van which was found burned out in Waterfall about 6.1kms away.
Despite a massive garda investigating, no one had ever been charged with the murder.
Supt Charlie Barry told coroner Philip Comyn that the investigation is ongoing.
Mr Staunton, 41, was a convicted drug dealer who had served time in prison.
The Real IRA issued a statement soon afterward the killing through the ‘32 County Sovereignty Movement’ in which it claimed responsibility for the shooting.
The Real IRA said Staunton’s killing was not "a once-off" and issued a warning to drug dealers in Cork to desist from their activities if they did not want to share the same fate.