Fifty gunshot pellets found in victim, says State Pathologist

The State Pathologist has today told a murder trial that she found 50 gunshot pellet holes in the body of a 22-year-old Dublin man, who was shot near his Blanchardstown home more five years ago.

The State Pathologist has today told a murder trial that she found 50 gunshot pellet holes in the body of a 22-year-old Dublin man, who was shot near his Blanchardstown home more five years ago.

Professor Marie Cassidy told the Central Criminal Court that Dara McCormack died from "considerable blood loss" and damage to his major organs, due to gunshot wounds to the back of his body.

Several of the pellets went through Mr McCormack's lungs, heart, kidney, spleen and liver. They were spread over an area measuring 31 inches extending from his left ear to his left thigh.

Professor Cassidy said Mr McCormack's injuries were consistent with his having been shot from behind. If just one shot had been fired, it was likely to have been from a distance of 30 yards she said.

She told the jury that normally a shotgun injury from this distance would not be fatal, but in this case the pellets were large and caused extensive damage.

Another witness told the court that Aidan Finnegan, who is on trial for the killing, rang him on the night of the shooting, telling him he wanted to meet with Mr McCormack.

Finnegan (aged 30), of Whitestown Avenue, Hartstown, has pleaded not guilty to murdering the construction worker.

Stephen Kavanagh said Finnegan told him he "wanted his money from Dara". Mr Kavanagh then rang Mr McCormack, whom he described as a "good mate" and passed on the message that Finnegan wanted to meet him at the housing estate where they both lived in Harstown. He said Dara replied "OK."

Mr Kavanagh said he was then in his bedroom later that night, when he heard a gunshot. He got on his bike and cycled a little way down the estate to find Dara McCormack lying on the ground.

He said Dara told him to take his mobile phone and ring an ambulance.

Mr Kavanagh dialled 999 but said he was unable to speak as he was in shock, so handed the phone to another neighbour who had arrived on the scene.

He then cycled to Mr McCormack's father's house to tell him his son had been shot.

During his cross-examination of the witness, Finnegan's defence counsel, Mr Patrick Marrinan SC, asked if he was aware of the significance of his evidence, the thrust of which was "that Aidan Finnegan rang you to set up a meeting with Dara McCormack on the evening of his death".

Mr Kavanagh said he knew its significance. Mr Marrinan put it to the witness that it was only when he himself was arrested for withholding information on firearms in relation to Mr McCormack's death, that he "fingered" Finnegan in a Garda statement. Mr Kavanagh made no reply.

The witness was then questioned over the fact that Finnegan maintains he was the person who told him Dara McCormack had been shot, during phone conversations between the two in the aftermath of the shooting.

Mr Marrinan said there were records showing several phone calls between Finnegan and Mr Kavanagh in the two days after the incident.

He said Finnegan repeatedly inquired how Dara was doing during these conversations.

Mr Marrinan said this was "inconsistent with him being a gunman gunning down Dara McCormack".

The witness said he did not remember the content of these conversations, and also denied that he had thrown his phone away afterward.

The case resumes tomorrow before Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan.

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