Woman tells murder trial of partner's shooting seconds after she brought weeks-old daughter inside

Woman tells murder trial of partner's shooting seconds after she brought weeks-old daughter inside
Kelly Smyth. Pic: Collins

A mother has described to a murder trial the moment her partner was shot dead outside her home seconds after she had taken their five-week-old daughter inside.

Kelly Smyth told the Central Criminal Court trial of two men charged with murdering her partner Vincent Ryan that she heard five loud bangs and then saw Mr Ryan's car windows were smashed and he was seriously injured.

Paul O’Beirne (aged 36) of Colepark Drive, Ballyfermot and Jeffrey Morrow (aged 37) of Burnell Court, Coolock, have pleaded not guilty to murdering 25-year-old Vincent Ryan at McKee Road in Finglas on February 29, 2016.

Ms Smyth today told prosecution counsel, Paul Burns SC, that she was with Mr Ryan at his home in Donaghmede, Dublin, earlier on February 29, 2016.

They decided to go to her house on McKee Road and travelled in his white Volkswagen Golf GTI along the M50, stopping at a Centra in Poppintree before continuing to McKee Road via the Jamestown Road and Sycamore Road. Their five-week-old daughter was with them in the car.

When they arrived at Ms Smyth's home they pulled up outside and Ms Smyth got out with their daughter and asked Mr Ryan to move the car because it was parked on the grass.

Ms Smyth's brother opened the door of the house and Ms Smyth went inside. When the door closed she said she heard five loud bangs. Her brother opened the door again and they went outside.

The windows of the car were "smashed", she said, and Mr Ryan was seriously injured. She didn't see anyone leaving the area, and told Mr Burns that she was focused on Mr Ryan.

She ran to the driver's door and opened it. She checked Mr Ryan for a pulse and her brother, who has training in first aid, also checked for a pulse and called an ambulance.

Ms Smyth agreed with Mr Burns that she spoke to Vincent to try to keep him conscious. When gardaí arrived she told them what had happened.

Ms Smyth also told Mr Burns that her partner had worked as a barber but had not worked since October 2015 after he was assaulted outside the Rotunda Hospital. On the day of the shooting, she said, she didn't notice anyone following them.

She said she would normally "have a little look around" because she was "a bit conscious and paranoid" following the assault at the Rotunda.

Ms Kelly's brother Keith told Mr Burns that he arrived home about 15 minutes before his sister that day. He answered the door when Kelly arrived and she brought her daughter inside.

The witness said he was playing with the baby when he heard "screeching and then bangs that sounded like gunshots." When he looked outside he saw broken glass and Mr Ryan's white car. He said: "Instinctively I knew something had happened."

His sister ran out screaming, he said. Mr Smyth said he saw a "grey looking car" going down the road and from the shape of it he knew it was the same type of car as Mr Ryan's Volkswagen. He didn't get the registration number and didn't see who was in the car, he said.

He tried to calm his sister, he said, but the scene was hectic and people were in shock. He said: "I was panicking myself."

He said he can't remember much about what happened and added: "My head was in so many places."

He tried to help his sister and Mr Ryan and could remember being in the car with Vincent when someone said they would take over from here. He said he "couldn't take in anything" and can't remember calling emergency services.

Under cross-examination Mr Smyth agreed with Michael O'Higgins SC for Jeffrey Morrow that the event was "very distressing" and there was "shock, panic and chaos." The witness added: "There was screaming and so much going on. I was there with my sister and family trying to make sure everything was okay."

Dr Edmund Carton told Mr Burns that he was working in the emergency department at the Mater Hospital when Mr Ryan was brought in.

Vincent Ryan.
Vincent Ryan.

He was bleeding heavily from wounds to the head and shoulder. Despite "extensive efforts" to treat him he continued to decline and was pronounced dead at 21.10 on February 29, 2016.

A neighbour on McKee Road, Lorcan Buckley, told Mr Burns that he was home with his wife and children at about 3pm when he heard what he thought were 12 or 13 gunshots "very quick like".

He heard a "screech of tyres" and then a scream.

He said:

"I told the kids to get on the ground and I went to the front door."

"I could see the white car and people screaming. People were around the white car and I went over because they are my neighbours."

He saw Mr Ryan in the driver's seat and Keith Smyth trying to help him. The witness called an ambulance. "There was nothing I could do," he said.

Stephen O'Reilly of Dublin Fire Brigade said he attended the scene shortly after 3pm. He saw an injured man in the driver's seat of a car which had bullet holes in the windscreen.

Mr O'Reilly released the injured man's seat belt and with the help of another firefighter laid him on the ground beside the car. They began a clinical assessment and discovered a number of wounds including a through and through wound to the man's hand, a wound to the right temple which he believed to be a bullet wound and another similar type of wound to the back.

The injured man, he said, was brought by ambulance to the Mater Hospital.

The trial continues in front of Mr Justice Michael White in front of a jury of four women and eight men.

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