NewsCrime Desk

Witness held back after lunging at murder accused in court

Keith Walker
Keith Walker

A witness was held back by prison officers after he lunged at a murder accused in front of the jury hearing his trial.

Jason O'Connor was due to give evidence in the trial of Christopher McDonald (34) from the East Wall area of Dublin.

Mr McDonald has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 36-year-old Keith Walker at Blanchardstown Pigeon Racing Club on Shelerin Road in Clonsilla on June 12, 2015.

He is on trial at the Central Criminal Court.

Having been called to give evidence, Mr O'Connor walked behind the accused man and was then seen to lunge at him. Four prison officers and a garda intervened.

Justice Patrick McCarthy told Mr O'Connor that he has powers to deal with people who are not prepared to act in a "civilized manner".

The jury was asked to leave the court for some minutes.

When they returned Justice McCarthy told them that they must decide the case based on the evidence they hear and that the accused man enjoys a presumption of innocence.

He described the witness's behaviour as "disgraceful" and added that it should not impact on the jury in any way.

Another witness, Stuart Kane, told Denis Vaughan Buckley, SC for the prosecution, that he was in the car park of the pigeon club that Friday afternoon, chatting with other members as they prepared for the weekend's racing.

He remembered walking to his car to get a can of coke and as he walked back he heard someone shout, "hit man, hit man".

A person wearing women's clothes and black sunglasses came up, pulled out what the witness believed to be a sub-machine gun and started firing.

"We all tried to turn and run," he said, "and then the poor man got it." He saw Mr Walker fall to the ground as the person with the gun walked backwards and out the gateway through which he had entered.

Earlier, Mr Vaughan Buckley told the jury they would hear evidence that Mr Walker was shot by a man dressed as a woman who took a sub-machine gun from his handbag in the car park of the pigeon racing club and opened fire.

Mr Buckley said that on the afternoon of Friday June 12 Mr Walker left his home in Clondalkin with his six-year-old son and travelled to Whitestown, Blanchardstown to meet up with Jason O'Connor, a fellow pigeon racing enthusiast.

He arrived at 5pm, had a cup of tea with Mr O'Connor and discussed races that were due to take place that weekend.

Having put pigeons into carrier baskets, they loaded them into a car belonging to Mr O'Connor's partner.

Mr Walker then drove the car to the racing club on Shelerin Road in Clonsilla.

Mr Vaughan Buckley said CCTV will show Mr Walker talking to other members of the club at about 6pm when a male dressed as a woman, wearing a long black wig and dark sunglasses and carrying a handbag entered the car park.

He approached Mr Walker, removed a firearm from his handbag and discharged multiple times, leaving Mr Walker fatally wounded.

Mr Vaughan Buckley added that a post mortem by Professor Marie Cassidy will show that the deceased suffered 18 gunshot wounds to his head, body and left leg.

Gardai later found a sub-machine gun that a forensic analyst will say is likely to have been the one used to kill Mr Walker.

Mr Buckley added that In the early hours of June 13, a senior investigating officer went to a premises in Ratoath, Co Meath with a search warrant.

When he arrived he saw the accused who was wearing makeup and had a cut over his eye.

Mr Vaughan Buckley said the garda will say that when arrested and cautioned Mr McDonald responded: "Go fuck yourself."

The trial continues tomorrow in front of Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of six men and six women.