"I heard a shot and Big Eddie said to me: ‘He’s after shooting me’”

Shot: Edward O'Connor
Shot: Edward O'Connor

The widow of a man shot dead by his nephew said her husband came home from the pub ‘very upset and frightened’ the week before the killing, after the accused had ‘threatened him’.

Charlotte O’Connor was giving evidence to the Central Criminal Court in the trial of the 24-year-old Dubliner charged with his murder.

David Cully has admitted the manslaughter of his uncle, Edward O’Connor, by shooting him. He told Gardaí he ‘lost it’ after Mr O’Connor made a comment about someone who had made an allegation of sexual abuse against him (the deceased).

However, Mr Cully of Kilshane Road, Finglas West has pleaded not guilty to murdering the 41-year-old at Ballycoolin Road, Finglas West on December 15 2013.

Mrs O’Connor testified that her husband returned from the pub on Sunday December 8th that year and told her that David Cully had come into the pub and threatened him.

“His words were: ‘He had a gun. He told me he was going to kill me’,” she said.

She was asked how her husband seemed.

“Very upset and frightened,” she replied.

“It was like he couldn’t get drunk; he sobered up with the fright,” she testified later, under re-examination.

Also in the witness box today was her brother-in-law, who described the shooting and the moment afterwards when he lifted his brother’s shirt and saw two holes in his back.

Eugene O’Connor testified that he had visited his brother at home in Barn Lodge, Finglas that afternoon. He said he heard the deceased telling his son, Darren O’Connor: “This fellow’s on the phone. Do you want to go down and have a straightener?”

The trial has already heard that it was Mr Cully who had phoned his uncle.

The witness explained that the purpose of ‘the straightener’ between Darren O’Connor and a man connected to the accused was to sort out a row they’d had the night before.

He said that they went with other male family members to the yard at Cappagh Cross, where the fist fight was to take place.

He said that the fight took place between Darren O’Connor and the other man, with David Cully shooting a gun in the air at one stage when another person had become involved. He said that both opponents shook hands after the fight and everyone began to leave.

“I remember David Cully scurrying out and running out the gate,” he said. “Then I heard a shot and Big Eddie (the deceased) said to me: ‘He’s after shooting me’.”

He said that Mr Cully was about 10 to 15 feet behind his brother, who dragged himself in off the road.

“He shot him in the back again,” he continued. “He let another few shots and went off… He took off skidding (in his car).”

He said that his brother was crouched down when he went to his side and rang for an ambulance. The operator gave him some instructions, including to pull up his brother’s shirt.

“I noticed a couple of holes in his back, to the left side,” he said, pointing to the area beneath his shoulder.

He said that his breathing became weaker and weaker and he never spoke again.

The court has already heard that Mr O’Connor was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Carroll Moran and a jury of seven women and five men.