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Court case Mayo pensioner shot friend after mistaking him for an intruder, inquest hears

Martin Caulfield fired a shotgun twice through the door of his bungalow fatally wounding close friend Brendan Kilduff


Brendan Kilduff

Brendan Kilduff

Brendan Kilduff

A pensioner fired a shotgun twice through the door of his Co. Mayo bungalow fatally wounding a friend believing him to be an intruder, an inquest was told.

Brendan Kilduff , Ballyhernaun, Knock, died at the scene of the shooting in the townland of Coogue, Aghamore, on September 17 last.

The 67-year-old-mechanic was shot dead by a close friend, Martin Caulfield (85) during a late night visit to the latter’s bungalow home.

Mr. Caulfield alerted the authorities by making a 999 call at 11.55 p.m. on the night of the shooting.

Speaking at times incoherently, he told the garda who took the call that he had fired a gun twice at a car “because he thought the driver was attempting to get into his house”.

Mr. Caulfield told the officer he wasn’t sure if he had hit anybody as he had shot through the door.

He went on to say his house was “surrounded by people with lights” and he did not want to go outside the house.

At an inquest today in Castlebar into Mr. Kilduff’s death, conducted by the Coroner for Mayo, Pat O’Connor, solicitor Declan Hynes explained that Mr. Caulfield is unwell and medically unfit to attend the hearing and would not be attending as a witness.

Detective Sergeant Michael Doherty said a full and comprehensive file had been sent to the DPP and on December 9 last gardai got a direction from the DPP that there was to be no prosecution in the matter.

Uniformed and plainclothes garda officers, members of the Armed Response Unit (ASU) and medical personnel rushed to Mr. Caulfield’s home in the early hours after he raised the alarm.

One of the first gardaí to arrive, Garda Fearghal O’Caheny told the inquest that a body in the driver’s seat of a vehicle at the scene was slouched towards the passenger side before being placed on the ground.

Chest compressions were tried but the body was apparently lifeless.

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Garda O’Caheny said he noted bullet holes in the in the stomach area of the man who was wearing dark clothes and had a torch on his head which was turned on.

The passenger window of the car was shattered and there was glass on the road.

A nephew of the deceased, Adrian Gildea, Abbeyknockmoy, Co. Galway, told the inquest his uncle, a mechanic by trade, was overly helpful and would never refuse anybody when asked a favour.

He spoke of his uncle as having a massive phobia about security and at night would leave his lights on and his radio on.

He added that Mr. Kilduff often wore a miner’s light around his head even when driving.

Mr. Gildea went on to describe his uncle as “a night owl”

He said that since Brendan passed away he had found out that he and Martin Caulfield had been good friends.

At the outset of the hearing solicitor Mr. John Brady, representing Mr. Kilduff’s family, claimed that from the Book of Statements it was clear there was a significant deficit in the information that was being put to the jury.

Mr. Brady said he did not believe the jury would be in a position to to determine the entirety of the matter on the basis of the evidence that would be presented to them.

The evidence was hearsay at best, Mr. Brady said. He called for an adjournment of the hearing so that other gardai involved in the investigation could be called as witnesses.

This application was refused by the coroner on the grounds that the purpose of an inquest is to establish the facts following a death and make findings on the identification of the deceased, the date and place of death and the cause of death.

The inquest was adjourned to today, when a State Pathologist will be among the witnesses to give evidence.

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