Court hears gun used in killing had been decommissioned by UK museum

Webley & Scott revolver
Webley & Scott revolver

A gun used to kill a man in Dublin had been decommissioned by a British museum, the Central Criminal Court heard Tuesday.

Detective Garda Janette O'Neill of the Garda Technical Bureau inspected a Webley & Scott revolver after it was found in a car close to where Seamus 'Shay' O'Byrne was shot dead on March 13, 2009 at Tymon Park North, Tallaght.

Gary Flynn (31), of Rossfield Drive in Tallaght has pleaded not guilty to Mr O'Byrne's murder.

Det Gda O'Neill told prosecuting counsel Alex Owens SC that she had retrieved the gun from a car belonging to Mr O'Byrne and his partner Sharon Rattigan.

The car was parked beside the driveway of their home, where the shooting happened. 

Ms Rattigan has previously given evidence that she threw the gun into the car after wrestling it from the gunman, who then ran away.

When Det Garda O'Neill inspected the gun she found a stamp from the Birmingham Proof House, a museum that decommissions guns for display or for private owners who want to keep the weapons as ornaments.

She said somebody had replaced the firing arm and pulled out a substance used to fill the barrel, making the gun usable again.

Det Gda O'Neill also found five spent cartridges in the revolver. The court has heard from State Pathologist Marie Cassidy that she found five bullets in Mr O'Byrne's body during his post mortem.

Det Gda O'Neill said the bullets were from an American manufacturer named Cascade and that they were not the correct caliber for the gun. She said that although the gun was in good condition, the bullets "wobbled" slightly when fired.

The court also heard from the managers of several businesses in south Dublin who helped gardai with their investigations in the days after the shooting.

Joanna Graca was manager of a Spar in Ballymount in 2009.

She agreed with Mr Owens that she gave CCTV footage to gardai that was taken on the day of the shooting, which showed a man purchasing two cans of Red Bull, a newspaper, a cup of tea and a packet of John Player Blue cigarettes.

She said she remembered serving the man and that he was wearing a brightly coloured t-shirt under a dark green rain jacket. "He looked very nervous," she said.

The court has previously heard from Detective Sergeant Daniel Kelly of Crumlin Garda Station who said that he travelled to Switzerland to track a can of Red Bull found at the scene of the shooting.

The can had a code on it that the manufacturers said would have appeared on a maximum of 800 cans.

Those 800 cans were then traced to the Spar shop in Ballymount. Ms Graca said that records showed that 18 cans of Red Bull were sold on the day of the shooting.

Detective Garda Richard Hampson was with the Terenure Detective Unit in 2009.

He went to a Topaz in Kimmage where he collected CCTV footage and till receipts that showed a man buying 19 litres of petrol and a E10 phone top-up on the day of the shooting.

Garda Maria Dennison of Rathfarnham Garda Station told Mr Owens that she visited 40 petrol stations in two days in March 2009 looking for evidence of a sale of a green petrol can.

She said she secured CCTV footage and a receipt from an Apple Green garage on the Naas Road.

She said the receipt showed that a five litre can was bought the day before the shooting at 7.27am.

The trial continues before Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of nine men and three women on Wednesday.