'I watched him die', partner tells inquest into Dublin gun murder
Gardai are still hunting for a third suspect they believe was involved in the murder of a dad-of-three who was shot in front of his partner and died of gunshot wounds to the torso and thigh.
Sources confirmed this after the inquest into the death Alan O'Neill (35), of Kiltalown Road, Tallaght, who was shot dead on May 27, was opened and adjourned yesterday.
His partner, Michelle Usher, was standing in the doorway of their home when Mr O'Neill was shot.
"I know how he died, I watched him," she said at Dublin Coroner's Court.
She was responding to Coroner Dr Brian Farrell, who had asked if family members wished to leave the court as the details of the cause of death might be distressing for them to hear.
State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy carried out a post mortem examination at Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Tallaght on May 28.
"The cause of death was gunshot wound to the trunk and right thigh. As the matter is being investigated by gardai, I am not at liberty to give any further evidence," the Coroner said.
"I'm going to adjourn the inquest to another date before the end of the year," the Coroner said. "I want to say how sorry I am of Alan's death. I am aware of some of the circumstances but I can't say anything further during the course of the investigation."
Ms Usher, who comforted the couple's children while contacting emergency services in the wake of the shooting, said the family would return to court on that date.
"They will be with us next time," she said from the public gallery.
Mr O'Neill's body was identified to Dr Cassidy and gardai by his mother Doris and his brother Paul O'Neill at Tallaght hospital. Ms Usher said Alan's mother Doris was not in court because she was away on holidays.
Reports following the shooting told how stray bullets later found in the front door and in the kitchen narrowly missed Ms Usher as she stood at the door waiting for Mr O'Neill to enter after he arrived home around 10.30pm.
Extending his condolences to Ms Usher and the deceased's sister-in-law, Dr Farrell adjourned the inquest to resume on December 18.
Two suspects have already been arrested and questioned about the murder before being released without charge, while gardai have been actively looking for another criminal.
Gardai will continue to closely monitor the activities of an 18-year-old teenager from Clondalkin who was arrested in relation to the murder and just weeks later was picked up by gardai again after he pulled a shotgun on officers when the taxi he was travelling in was stopped in west Dublin and drugs were seized from it.
It is believed that Mr O'Neill was killed after getting involved in a pub row with a serious drugs figure from the Tallaght area. Officers arrested two men, aged 28 and 18, shortly after the shooting.
The two men fled the scene in a Mazda people carrier which was found burning on Belfry Square. Gardai arrested the men at the scene of the burning car which was badly damaged.
The duo, who have addresses in Clondalkin and Tallaght, are both known to gardai.
They were arrested when a passing patrol car spotted the suspected culprits fleeing from the scene.
The handgun used in the murder has not yet been recovered.
Two little girls both believed to be under six who live near where the car was burned were left terrified after they witnessed the dramatic scenes on the night of May 27.