Daughter, 7: I just heard bang bang bang

A 7-year-old girl who witnessed her father’s “execution” at their home told gardaí she felt a “little bit sad and a little happy because my dad is away from the bad boys now”, a murder trial has heard.

A Central Criminal Court jury yesterday heard that the girl gave officers a statement, telling them: “I just heard ‘bang bang bang’ — I could see my dad rolling around. I called my da.”

Keith O’Neill, aged 39, from Lissadell Drive, Drimnagh, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering John Wilson on September 28, 2012, at his home on Cloverhill Rd, Ballyfermot.

Opening the trial, Conor Devally, prosecuting, said: “Mr Wilson drew up outside his home in the company of his daughter who was seven years of age and another gentleman who was in the front seat.

“He nipped into the house to get something and a car drew up behind that of Mr Wilson. From it emerged a person who seemed to be a passenger. He walked up the hall of the house hooded and covered with a scarf.

“Immediately there were heard six short shots — this is an execution of sorts.

“Mr Wilson was shot in the back — six bullets were discharged but two of them hit him.”

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Mr Devally told the court that a car similar to the one from which the gunman had emerged was set alight and that items were discovered in it, including a gun.

He read to the court a statement made to gardaí by Mr Wilson’s daughter, who was seven at the time. It read: “My dad picked me up from school — my dad’s friend was with him. I got into the back of the car and was sitting behind my dad.

“The three of us went straight to my house — my dad went into the house. When the man went into my house there were two people — one person stayed in the Jeep.

“I just heard ‘bang bang bang’ — I could see my dad rolling around. I called my da.

“I feel a little bit sad and a little happy because my dad is away from the bad boys now,” it concluded.

Taking to the stand, Robert McHugh told the court he was in his sitting room on Cloverhill Rd when he heard gunshots at around 1pm on September 28, 2012.

“I remember hearing gunshots and running out and meeting his young daughter,” Mr McHugh said.

Upon hearing the shots, he said that, from his sitting room, he saw a “hooded figure” leaving Mr Wilson’s house.

“I made my way towards the house — his daughter was trying to get into the house. She was upset and I stopped her going into the house. John was lying on the ground struggling to breath,” he said.

When asked how long had elapsed before the ambulance arrived, Mr McHugh said “15 to 20 minutes”.

Professor Marie Cassidy, the State pathologist, told Mr Devally that the fatal injury was a gunshot wound to the chest which injured internal organs.

“There were two gunshot injuries, one to the left arm and one to the chest.”

She added:

“The fatal injury was the gunshot wound to the chest which had injured internal organs — he had lost a significant amount of blood.”

The trial continues.

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