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Monday 24 July 2017

Assassin in make-up, wig and leggings shot pigeon fancier 18 times, trial told

Jason O'Connor
Jason O'Connor
Keith Walker

A group of pigeon racing enthusiasts heard shouts of "Hitman!" and saw a man disguised as a woman pull a submachine gun from a handbag and start shooting, a jury has heard.

Christopher McDonald (34) was wearing make-up, a long black wig, sunglasses, black gloves, black leggings and a black cardigan when he all- egedly shot and killed Keith Walker (34).

Mr Walker was standing in a car park outside Blanchardstown Racing Pigeon Club talking to other members when he was shot.

The Central Criminal Court heard he was struck by 18 bullets and died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds to his head and body.

Witnesses described hearing someone shout "Hitman!" before shots were fired and they "hit the floor".

Lunged

Mr McDonald, from the East Wall area of Dublin 1, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Walker at Blanchardstown Racing Pigeon Club in Clonsilla on June 12, 2015.

Yesterday, a friend of the victim, Jason O'Connor, lunged for the accused as he walked towards the witness box.

A woman sitting in the courtroom shouted "Please Jay, don't!" as four prison officers held him.

Mr O'Connor and the dead man were friends, and the jury earlier heard that Mr Walker had driven Mr O'Connor's partner's car to the club.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy asked Mr O'Connor if he was prepared to behave in a civilised manner, and he said: "Yeah, he's the one on trial, not me."

The judge warned him he had powers to deal with people who did not behave.

The jury of six men and six women was led away from the courtroom for a period.

When they returned, Judge McCarthy said they had to decide the case on the evidence in a "rational and calm manner" and that the accused enjoys the presumption of innocence.

The judge said the behaviour witnessed by the jury was "quite disrespectful to the accused".

In his evidence, Stuart Kane said he was standing outside the club talking to other members when he heard someone shout "Hitman!".

They all looked around, and Mr Kane saw what looked like a woman pull out a gun and start shooting. They all just "hit the floor", he said.

He said the shooter was wearing a black wig, black sunglasses and a long black dress "or something like that".

He said he did not know Mr Walker personally but had seen him the previous week with Mr O'Connor.

Another club member, Terry Sutcliffe, also said he heard someone shout "Hitman!".

He turned, saw "someone pull something out" and he jumped behind a parked van.

Mr Sutcliffe said he heard noises that sounded like "a load of firecrackers".

He also thought he saw shells hitting the ground or wall.

When he came out from behind the van, Mr Sutcliffe said he saw Mr Walker lying on the ground. He went over and saw he was dead.

Wounded

Mr Sutcliffe said he rang Mr O'Connor, whose car Mr Walker had been driving, and told him his friend had been shot.

In his opening speech, lawyer Denis Vaughan Buckley said it was the prosecution case that Mr McDonald, dressed as a woman, walked into the car park, removed an automatic firearm from his handbag, ran the last few metres towards Mr Walker and then discharged the weapon multiple times.

Mr Vaughan Buckley said Mr Walker was fatally wounded and died at the scene.

He said Prof Marie Cassidy conducted a post-mortem. He said she will give evidence that Mr Walker died due to multiple gunshot wounds.

Mr Vaughan Buckley said Prof Cassidy will tell the court that 18 bullets struck Mr Walker's body.

The jury was also told it will be shown CCTV footage of the killing. The trial continues.

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