Drug dealer’s shotgun death gets new inquest

An inquest into the death of a man, gunned down in a gangland-style attack on the southside of Cork City over six years ago is set to proceed after the DPP directed there be no prosecution at this time.

Garda Sergeant Fergus Twomey told Cork City Coroner’s Court yesterday that an extensive garda file in relation to the killing in 2010 of Gerard Staunton, who was shot dead in front of his partner and two children outside their home in Wilton, had been submitted to the DPP for consideration.

However, the DPP’s office has now directed that there be no prosecution at this time in relation to the death, the sergeant told city coroner Myra Cullinane.

The decision clears the way for a full hearing of the inquest, which Dr Cullinane had listed for August.

While the circumstances of the killing, responsibility for which was claimed by the Real IRA, will be outlined at the inquest, it is understood that elements of the garda investigation will not be disclosed.

Speaking afterwards, Supt Charlie Barry, who is leading the extensive garda probe, said the case is still open and their investigations were continuing.

Gardaí launched a major murder investigation after the shooting and spent thousands of man hours following several lines of enquiry.

Detectives arrested up to a dozen people for questioning, viewed thousands of hours of CCTV footage, and conducted many searches of property in Cork city and county. However, no-one has ever been charged in connection with the killing.

“If new evidence is uncovered or emerges, we will resubmit a file to the DPP for further consideration,” Supt Barry said.

Gerard ‘Topper’ Staunton, aged 41, who was originally from Kilkieran Close, Hollyhill, on the northside of the city, was shot by a lone gunman armed with a double-barreled sawn-off shotgun as he was getting into his car outside his rented house at Westlawn, off the Sarsfield Rd in Wilton, just before 8pm on January 20, 2010.

The convicted drug-dealer, who was known to gardaí, was blasted in the chest at close range.

A bullet entered the back seat of the car close to where the children were sitting.

The gunman fled along Sarsfield Rd in a red 92 C-registered Toyota Liteace van with distinctive bull-bars, which was found burned out at around 8.30pm in a field at Castlewhite, near Waterfall, about 6km away.

Gardaí later traced the van to Carrigaline, where it had been bought 24 hours before the shooting.

Days before, leaflets had been distributed across Cork city by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement threatening to kill drug-dealers.

A week after Mr Staunton’s killing, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement issued another statement in which the Real IRA claimed responsibility for the killing, and threatened further action against drug dealers.

“We warned them that our actions would speak louder than a thousand words and last week was testament to that,” it said.

“For those who still have a chance to stop today, we ask you to embrace this opportunity or run the risk of suffering the same fate.

“This was not a one-off and we would like to reiterate that we will strike when we are ready and not when it is expected of us.

“When we do strike, it is not vigilante or gangland activity but military action.”


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