Window cleaner shot dead while cycling to work had been followed, inquest hears

A window cleaner shot dead while cycling to work had been followed on his route the previous day, an inquest heard.

John O’Regan (48) left his home in Barnewall Gardens, Ballymun, Dublin 9 shortly after 8.30am on April 15 2014. He rounded the corner onto Gateway Avenue where he was shot by a lone gunman also travelling by bicycle.

No known motive has been established and the fatal shooting remains unsolved, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard. The man’s long term partner Jackie Hogg said before he left the house that morning Mr O'Regan told her about the sudden death of a neighbour.

“He had worked in security and after that he took up odd jobs and window cleaning. He enjoyed that work. I helped occasionally,” Ms Hogg said. “John came in and told me about the neighbour who had died. He was shocked. He said ‘You never know what’s going to happen,’” Ms Hogg said. Mr O'Regan left the house saying he wouldn’t be long and that was the last time he spoke to her, Ms Hogg said.

Minutes later she got a call from her son who said he'd heard someone had been shot in the area.

Witness Brendan Connaughton, a labourer, was working at a local primary school when he heard five to six shots ring out. “They were loud bangs. Like caps going off,” he said. Then he heard screaming and saw a man cycling slowly towards the Ballymun Road.

“I saw him put what looked like a silver gun inside his jacket. He was cycling slowly as if nothing had happened, as if he had done nothing wrong,” Mr Connaughton said.

Gardai were alerted at 8.43am. Garda Damien Duffy arrived at the scene at 8.47am and said Mr O’Regan had no pulse and was not breathing. He was rushed to the Mater Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9.25am. The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.

Superintendent Colm Fox said a full scale murder inquiry was launched with 277 lines of inquiry and 135 witness statements taken.

“No definitive motive was established,” Supt Fox told the court. CCTV footage revealed Mr O'Regan had been followed on his bicycle the previous day, the court heard. The file remains open.

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

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