Father-of-one found guilty of brutal shotgun murder in Dublin
A father-of-one will be sentenced to life in prison next month, after being found guilty of murdering a 33-year-old man by shooting him with a shotgun in the chest before reloading and shooting him in the head.
Seán Ducque, of no fixed abode, admitted killing Kieran Farrelly on 26th October 2014 at Killarney Court, Killarney Street in Dublin.
However, the 33-year-old said that the deceased had provoked him by threatening to punch his head in. He pleaded not guilty to murder and went on trial at the Central Criminal Court last week.
The trial heard that residents of Killarney Court had heard two distinct bangs and some shouting around 11.30 that night. One witness heard a female voice shout: ‘Seán, don’t do it’.
Emergency services arrived and found Mr Farrelly’s body. He had sustained two gunshot wounds: one to the chest and one to the left eye socket.
The State Pathologist confirmed that Mr Farrelly had died of the two shotgun injuries, with the chest wound inflicted first. This would have resulted in him collapsing to the ground before the eye wound was inflicted at ‘fairly close range’.
A discharged shotgun cartridge was found at the scene and the accused was located in a nearby laneway shortly after 6am. The sawn-off, double-barreled shotgun was found in a wheelie bin on the lane, along with another discharged cartridge.
Analysis of the gun found that Mr Farrelly’s trunk wound was inflicted from two to three metres away, and the eye wound from a distance of a metre or less.
Ducque’s former partner had been there and testified that the deceased had pleaded with him between shots.
Laura Dempsey also said that the accused had gone there to give the deceased a hiding at the request of Mr Farrelly’s partner. She said Ducque had said he was going to ‘blow his legs off’.
Ducque denied this, saying that he went there to try to sell Mr Farrelly a phone he had stolen during the armed robbery of a taxi driver earlier that evening. He testified that he had hidden the phone, loaded gun and money in some bushes there afterwards.
He claimed that he had just picked up the loaded gun when Mr Farrelly threatened to ‘punch the head off’ him if he didn’t give him everything he had.
Ducque, who was homeless and addicted to heroin at the time, said he lost control, having taken heroin, sleeping tablets and vodka that day.
His legal team asked for a verdict of not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter, on the grounds of provocation.
However, a ballistics expert had demonstrated how the 12-gauge shotgun would have been used. He explained that, once fired, the gun would have to be opened manually, the used cartridge removed and another one inserted before firing another shot.
The jurors had later examined the weapon in their jury room.
The court also heard that Ducque had not admitted firing the shots until the start of his trial, and that he had tried to urinate on his hands before they could be tested for firearms residue following his arrest.
The prosecution had said that he was in complete control, doing what he had intended. Dominic McGinn SC, said that this was as close to an assassination as it was possible to get and that if ever there was a clear case of murder, this was it.
The six men and six women of the jury began considering their verdict on Tuesday and had deliberated for two hours and 44 minutes when they returned with a unanimous verdict today.
Ducque showed no reaction when the guilty verdict was read out.
Mr McGinn asked for victim impact statements from Mr Farrelly’s family as well as from two men Ducque had robbed around the same time.
He had previously pleaded guilty to robbing taxi driver David Wyer of a mobile phone, set of car keys and approximately €150 in cash, and having a firearm with intent to commit robbery on 26th October 2014 at Terrace Place in the city.
He also admitted robbing Hugh Gildea of a mobile phone, wrist watch and approximately €520 in cash on 27th October 2014 at Mabbot Lane in the city.
Hugh O’Keeffe SC, defending, asked for a drug counsellor’s report to be obtained.
Mr Justice Paul Butler remanded Ducque in custody for sentencing on Monday 10th July and told the jury that the sentence on the murder charge was a mandatory one.
One of four prison officers, who had been wearing stab vests throughout the trial, then handcuffed the prisoner and led him away.