The High Court heard Margaret Madden suffered a heart attack as her husband bled to death after he was shot twice outside the back door of their Sligo home 13 years ago.
Mrs Madden, of Lough Gara View House, Monasteraden, Ballaghadereen, Co Sligo, has sued the men who were involved in the ambush and death of her husband Terence, aged 52, in what is believed to be the first action of its kind where damages are sought by the family of the victim of a contract killing.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told a grudge by one of the men over the Maddens running a bed and breakfast business near his mother’s B&B was behind the early morning attack.
Mr Madden died when a bullet severed an artery in his leg after he was gunned down on Jan 28, 1999.
Mrs Madden told the High Court on the day of the killing, her husband got up early to go to Dublin to a meeting. She heard a loud bang and when she went downstairs she heard another bang.
“My husband was lying on the ground. I thought he had had a heart attack but when I turned him over and I saw blood I realised there was something terribly wrong.”
She said she called the doctor and gardaí and began to black out. She was rushed to hospital suffering from a heart attack.
“The fact that my husband was murdered is dreadful. This sort of thing does not happen to ordinary people.”
The court heard the attack arose out of the resentment that Michael Doohan, Ashbury Lawns, Ballinode, Co Sligo, had for the Madden Bed and Breakfast business.
Doohan is serving life for the murder after being convicted in the Special Criminal Court.
The case is also against Michael Joseph Herron of Chapel Street, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, and Patrick McGrath of Cuilpruglish, Gurteen, Co Sligo, who are also serving life sentences for murder.
A fourth man, Thomas Derrig of Culfadda, Ballymote, Co Sligo, died two years ago and the case was against the representatives of his estate, his two sons Jonathon and Thomas Derrig Jnr. Thomas Derrig pleaded guilty to possession of a shotgun in suspicious circumstances in Oct 1998, which was the gun used in the murder.
The case was before the court for assessment of damages only.
Ms Justice Irvine will deliver her assessment of the damages next Tuesday.