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burnt out car Eamon Kelly murder trial hears evidence of burning Lexus allegedly connected to fatal shooting

Father-of-nine Kelly (65) was shot four times in the back as he walked towards his home in north Dublin in December of 2012

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Murdered: Eamon Kelly

Murdered: Eamon Kelly

Murdered: Eamon Kelly

The Special Criminal Court trial of two men accused of murdering gangland figure Eamon Kelly has heard evidence of a burning Lexus car that the prosecution allege is connected to the fatal shooting.

Father-of-nine Kelly (65) was shot four times in the back as he walked towards his home in north Dublin in December of 2012. He was one of the country’s most well-known criminal figures, having been involved in organised crime for more than four decades.

The three-judge court is hearing the trial of Kenneth Donohoe and Darren Murphy, who are charged with murdering the criminal at Furry Park Road, Killester, on Dublin’s north-side, on December 4, 2012. Mr Donohoe (42), of Hazelgrove, Tallaght, Dublin 24, and Mr Murphy (50) of George's Place, Dublin 1, have both pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Both men have also pleaded not guilty to the possession of a firearm, a Glock pistol, with intent to endanger life, on the same date and at the same location.

In 2015, Sean Connolly, then aged 35, of Bernard Curtis House, Bluebell, Dublin was jailed for life by the Special Criminal Court for the murder of veteran criminal Kelly.

Retired State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy has told the trial that Kelly died of four gunshot wounds to his upper back when he was attacked at around 4pm on December 4, 2012. 

Dr Cassidy said that her report concluded that the cause of Kelly's death was four gunshot wounds to the back and that injuries to the left lung meant that a considerable amount of blood had gotten into Kelly's airways, resulting in a "choking" effect.

On Friday, the non-jury court heard evidence from Garda Sergeant Sinead Downey, who told prosecution counsel Mr Dominic McGinn SC that she arrived at Stiles Court, Clontarf, Dublin 3, at 4.04pm on the day of the shooting. 

Sgt Downey said that a 1996-registered black Lexus was on fire at Stiles Court but that Dublin Fire Service had put out the "main part" of the fire by the time she arrived.

Sgt Downey ensured that the car was not interfered with and technical examinations were carried out at the scene before it was towed away for further examination.

In his opening speech to the three-judge court, Mr McGinn said there would be evidence that a black Lexus car had a "more proximate connection to the shooting".

Detective Garda Kevin Keane told Mr Brendan Grehan SC, defending, that he had seen the car parked up in the Old Presbytery area in Tallaght on December 2, 2012, when he was on patrol, but that Tallaght Garda Station had nothing "on the radar" regarding the car being in that area.

Witness Juan Pater said that he had seen the car parked in the Old Presbytery area for two days "about 20 metres from my apartment" before it disappeared in early December 2012.

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A witness in the trial has previously told the court that two men seen at Furry Park Road on the day of the murder had gotten into a black Lexus.

Denis Sheehan, a neighbour of Kelly's, has told Mr McGinn that he was studying for his degree in his house at Furry Park Road at around 4pm on the day.

"I was just idly looking out the window and saw two gentlemen walking down the footpath on my side of the street. They were not side by side, one was walking behind the other, approximately two metres apart and they were walking at a brisk pace," he said.

Mr Sheehan said they had stopped at a Lexus car, got into it and drove away in the direction of the Howth Road.

He said the two men were quite different in appearance, the person in front was taller and dressed in a tracksuit. The other man was stockier, a little bit shorter and had his hands in the front of his hoodie, he said. "They just drove off, I lost interest and went back to my studies," he said.

On Friday, Doctor Michael Galvin told Mr McGinn that A&E in Beaumont Hospital had received a call at about 4.20pm on the day that a male with gunshot wounds was inbound by ambulance.

Dr Galvin, the then senior house officer at the A&E, said that there were incision marks on Kelly, evidencing an emergency tracheotomy procedure by paramedics when on the way to the hospital.

The doctor, however, told counsel that Kelly showed "no signs of life" and that he was pronounced dead at the hospital at 4.40pm.

The trial continues on Monday before Mr Justice Alexander Owens, presiding, sitting with Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin and Judge Dermot Dempsey.

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