Witness evidence heard in murder trial

A witness in the trial of a man who was the alleged getaway driver for a gunman in a fatal shooting, has told the jury that he saw a man wearing a motorbike helmet jump into a waiting van close to the scene.

A witness in the trial of a man who was the alleged getaway driver for a gunman in a fatal shooting, has told the jury that he saw a man wearing a motorbike helmet jump into a waiting van close to the scene.

Christopher Barry (aged 25), from Killester in Dublin was shot nine times by a lone gunman in Byrne's Bookmakers on Killester Avenue, Donnycarney, on the afternoon of September 13, 2008.

Liam Bolger (aged 23), of Homelawn Gardens, Tallaght has pleaded not guilty to the murder.

Counsel for the prosecution, Mr Paddy McCarthy SC, has told the Central Criminal Court that Mr Bolger was the getaway driver on the day in question.

He said the case was one of joint enterprise, and that Mr Bolger was “part and parcel” of it.

Giving evidence on day two of the trial, Patrick Drew said he was driving past the shops in Donnycarney on the afternoon of the killing, when he saw a man on a motorbike driving on the footpath.

He told the jury of six men and six women that he has an interest in motorbikes, and that he recognised this one as a Suzuki 600.

Mr Drew said it was metallic blue in colour, and the driver was wearing a metallic blue helmet with the visor down.

“The bike was going pretty hard for being on the footpath,” he told the court.

Mr Drew then parked his car around the corner at Killester Park where he noticed a white van parked with the engine running and the driver inside.

“I was going to say hello but I decided against it… he didn't look too friendly” Mr Drew told the court.

He described the driver as being in his 20s or 30s, heavy-set around the shoulders with fair or sandy-coloured hair and reasonably clean-shaven.

“I made eye contact… he lifted a newspaper and put it to his face,” Mr Drew said. Then he noticed smoke coming from La Vista avenue; the lane where the gunman allegedly set fire to his motorbike.

Mr Drew said he saw a man sprint down the lane, run past him and jump into the van which took off “pretty fast".

When asked if he had seen that man before, Mr Drew replied: “I'd seen the helmet before...down at the shops at Donnycarney.”

Mr Drew said he noted the registration of the van and rang gardaí to inform them.

Counsel for the defence, Mr Brendan Grehan inquired as to why Mr Drew didn't investigate where the smoke was coming from, to which the witness replied “I was after having enough excitement".

Detective Garda Clogher told the court that having received information on a white Renault van later that same afternoon, he went in an unmarked patrol car to check if it was parked at Homelawn Gardens in Tallaght; the address it was registered to.

The van wasn't there, but after patrolling the area for a time he saw it emerging from a nearby estate with two men inside.

“I observed a man I now know to be Liam Bolger. His appearance has changed a lot since that day,” Detective Garda Clogher told the court.

He told the jury how he saw the man on the passenger side of the van wipe down the inside door and window.

He then followed the van again and saw the passenger get out and walk into a house.

Detective Garda Clogher said Mr Bolger continued to drive the van around the area and he followed him, never leaving the van out of his sight.

He said Mr Bolger became aware that he was being followed and looked back at him in his rear-view mirrors a number of times.

After a while he parked the van and Garda Clogher called him over saying: “Howya, come over here for a second… guards here.”

He said he asked the driver why he had been acting so suspiciously.

“He said he thought I was after him and he thought I was going to do something to him,” Garda Clogher told the court.

He called for assistance, and then asked the driver his name. The court heard the driver of the van gave it as Liam Bolger, and said he lived at Homelawn Gardens.

The case continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Paul Carney.

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