Tragic father acted as peacemaker

THE innocent Irish father-of-two who was brutally gunned down after a Spanish pub row escalated out of control only joined the argument as a peacemaker.

Witnesses to the tragic Wednesday morning murder of 40-year-old John O’Neill from Coolock in Dublin have confirmed the plasterer had attempted to calm the situation before he was shot.

It is understood the 3am row at Coco’s bar in the Arroyo de la Miel area of Benalmadena on the Costa del Sol began when a British man, believed to be from Liverpool, became irate at having to wait for a toilet cubicle to become available.

After kicking at the door of the cubicle, the man — who has been living on the Costa del Sol for a number of years and is understood to have criminal convictions in Britain — became embroiled in an argument with guests of an Irish wedding.

Mr O’Neill is believed to have become involved in an attempt to break-up the argument, which resulted in members of the bar staff ordering the British man to “do yourself a favour and go home”.

Minutes later, Spanish police believe this individual returned to Coco’s bar with a 38 calibre pistol, which he then used to fatally wound the Irish father of two — a three-year-old boy and a nine-month-old girl — with two bullets to the back and stomach.

Mr O’Neill’s partner, Maxine, who was standing beside the innocent Irishman as the shots were fired — a number of which were also targeted at those inside the building — was treated for a panic attack in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.

However, she managed to give a detailed description of the man Spanish police believe killed her partner.

This individual, who was seen by witnesses climbing over a fence with bloodstains still on his shirt, is the subject of a major manhunt by the specialist violent crime unit of the Spanish police in Torremolinos.

He is understood to have been living on the outskirts of Benalmadena for a number of years but since the murder has disappeared.


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