Witness ‘ran from murder victim’s car’ when he saw vehicle pull up

The passenger in a car driven by a man shot dead in front of his daughter told a murder trial jury he ran when another car pulled up beside him.

Keith O’Neill, aged 39, from Lissadell Drive, Drimnagh in Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to murdering John Wilson on September 28, 2012, at his home on Cloverhill Rd, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10.

Taking the stand yesterday, witness Leslie Herbert confirmed with Conor Devally, prosecuting, that he was in the passenger seat of John Wilson’s car when a car pulled up in front of them.

“John was driving the car. I was in passenger seat,” he said.

When asked if they had pulled up outside Mr Wilson’s house, he replied: “He parked next door to it.

“A car rolled up and I jumped out and ran,” said Mr Herbert.

“I seen a car — I seen a couple of people in it — I didn’t see anybody’s face. When I seen a car rolling up, my natural instinct was to run.

“It went past our car and stopped. I ran down Cloverhill Road. I heard a couple of bangs.”

When asked if he had seen Mr Wilson’s seven-year-old daughter, he replied: “She was on the footpath — I heard her saying ‘me da’.”

Mr Herbert told the court he had gone into the house and attempted, with others, to resuscitate Mr Wilson.

Under cross-examination by Anthony Sammon, defending, Mr Herbert confirmed that, in a statement to gardaí on September 29, 2012, he said that the passenger in the second car had been “a tall man all in black”.

Garda Denis Sweetman told Mr Devally he was directed to take charge of the viewing of CCTV showing a dark vehicle at Cherry Orchard Crescent on September 28. He pointed out a figure emerging from the car in a dark jacket and smoke appearing from the left-hand side of the screen.

Detective Garda Mark Collander from the ballistics section of the Garda Technical Bureau described a 0.357 Ruger 100 revolver that was retrieved from a Volkswagen Passat.

Det Collander confirmed with Mr Devally that he had cause to examine a vehicle on September 28, 2012.

“The vehicle had been burnt out. I could get a strong smell of petrol or accelerant from the vehicle,” he said.

“I retrieved a 0.357 Ruger 100 revolver and I rendered the firearm safe. The same gun was showing six cylinders discharged.”

The court heard a burnt striped garment and black gloves were also recovered from the vehicle.

Witness William McCormack told Mr Devally that on September 26, he discovered his house in Cellbridge, Co Kildare, had been broken into and his Volkswagen Passat had been stolen.

The jury were shown CCTV footage of a man identified as Keith O’Neill entering and leaving Borza Cafe on the Ballyfermot Rd on September 28, 2012.


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