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Gun trial Fingermarks of murder accused found on 'spotter' car used in shooting of Daithi Douglas, court told

The State is alleging that Lee Canavan was the person who "literally pulled the trigger" after entering Mr Douglas' shop shortly after 4pm on the day of the shooting.


Lee Canavan

Lee Canavan

Lee Canavan

The trial of a man accused of the murder of David Douglas, who was shot dead in Dublin five years ago, has heard that two of his fingermarks were found on one of the "spotter" cars used in the shooting.

Lee Canavan (31), with an address at Edenbrook, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Douglas (55), who was shot six times at Shoestown, Bridgefoot Street, Dublin 1, on July 1, 2016. A semi-automatic pistol with its serial number removed was found next to his head.

The accused also denies a second charge of criminal damage to a Suzuki Swift vehicle at Strand Road, Sandymount, on July 4, 2016, the property of Teresa Devoy.

The State is alleging that Mr Canavan was the person who "literally pulled the trigger" after entering Mr Douglas' shop shortly after 4pm on the day of the shooting. He is the fourth person to appear before the courts charged in connection to the murder.

In his opening address, prosecution counsel Sean Gillane SC said the non-jury court would hear evidence of the movements of four vehicles on the day and that evidence would be produced linking Mr Canavan, through a fingerprint and a DNA sample, to two cars involved.

"Four vehicles were used in concert in planning and executing the murder," said Mr Gillane, adding that the movements of these vehicles were key to understanding the killing. The fourth car, a Ford Fiesta, was used for logistics and spotting, he added.

Giving evidence today, forensic scientist Sarah Fleming told Mr Gillane that the purpose of her work was to attempt to generate DNA profiles from items retrieved at the scene of the shooting.


Daithi Douglas

Daithi Douglas

Daithi Douglas

Ms Fleming said she examined the gun found at the scene and no DNA profile could be obtained from its muzzle, magazine or on the gun itself.

The witness said she also examined swabs taken from a Ford Fiesta car. An unknown male profile was obtained from a cigarette butt found inside the vehicle and a match was found between this profile and Mr Canavan's, she outlined.

Ms Amanda Lennon from Forensic Science Ireland said she examined paint samples belonging to a blue Mitsubishi Mirage and a silver Suzuki Swift to see if the Mitsubishi had collided with the Suzuki. She found that there was "strong support" that the Mitsubishi had collided with the Suzuki Swift.

Iveta Sutkote told the court previously that she was sitting in her vehicle with her ex-boyfriend facing the sea in a car park on Sandymount beach on the night of July 4, when she saw a Mitsubishi car hit an unoccupied Suzuki Swift car that was parked behind them.

There were three men in the Mitsubishi and one of them jumped out and tried to pour petrol on the Suzuki car from a red canister, she said. Gardai later found scorch marks on the bonnet of the Suzuki and smouldering petrol could be seen on the ground.

Detective Garda Raymond Kane testified today that he had carried out a technical examination using fingerprint powder on certain cars used in the shooting. The witness said he found two finger marks made by the accused's left thumb on the rear view mirror of the silver Ford Fiesta car.

In cross-examination, the witness agreed with Michael Bowman SC, defending, that fingerprints are not temporal in nature and can last longer if they are found inside a car.

It is the prosecution's case that this was a "meticulously and carefully planned assassination to ensure that Mr Douglas met his death".

In 2018, Frederick 'Fat Freddie' Thompson (41) was jailed for life by the Special Criminal Court for the murder of Mr Douglas.

In 2019, Nathan Foley (22) of Maryland, Dublin 8, was jailed for six years after he pleaded guilty to assisting a criminal organisation by driving one of four cars and buying mobile phones used in the offence.

Gareth Brophy (26) was jailed in February 2020 for ten years by the Special Criminal Court for his role as getaway driver.

The case continues on Monday afternoon at the non-jury court before Mr Justice Michael MacGrath, presiding, sitting with Ms Justice Sinead Ní Chúlacháin and Mr Justice Dermot Dempsey.

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