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Friday 22 September 2017

Telling our children that Keith had been killed was the worst day of my life - wife

Keith loved pigeon racing
Keith loved pigeon racing

The wife of an innocent dad-of-two shot dead by a gunman in drag has described him as "kind, caring and loving".

Lorraine Walker said the worst day of her life was the day she had to tell her two boys their father Keith was dead.

Mrs Walker said the look on their faces when she delivered the terrible news their father was gone, that he had been brutally murdered, will "never leave me".

Christopher McDonald (34) was found guilty before the Central Criminal Court of the murder of Keith Walker outside Blanchardstown Pigeon Racing Club in Clonsilla on June 12, 2015.

There were cheers and applause in the courtroom when the verdict was announced, with one man shouting "you sc*mbag, junkie b*****d - I hope you rot" at the defendant.

McDonald showed little reaction when the verdict was delivered after two hours and six minutes of deliberations by the jury.

The defendant, from the East Wall area of Dublin's north inner city, had pleaded not guilty to the murder.

During the trial, the jury heard Mr Walker was only at the pigeon club because he was delivering his friend Jason O'Connor's pigeons to the club as they were involved in a race the next day.

Mr O'Connor was banned from driving at the time, and Mr Walker drove Mr O'Connor's partner's car over to the club.

It was the State's case that McDonald disguised himself as a woman and shot 35-year-old Keith Walker 18 times with a sub-machine gun.

He died at the scene as a result of multiple gunshot wounds to his head and body.

Emotional

Eyewitnesses had described hearing shouts of "hitman", before shots were fired and they "hit the floor".

The court had heard during the trial that McDonald was wearing make-up, a long black wig, sunglasses, black gloves, black leggings and a black cardigan when he carried out the shooting. DNA matching McDonald was identified on a glove and wig found alongside the sub-machine gun used in the attack.

In her victim impact statement, an emotional and tearful Mrs Walker said she and Keith were childhood sweethearts and were together for 17 years.

Keith was her soulmate and her best friend, she said, and she loves him and misses him every single day.

How anyone could kill another individual she doesn't know, she said, and to the killers she said "shame on them".

Mrs Walker said Keith was an innocent man, who was taken from her and her boys for "no reason".

Mr Walker's sister Michelle said Keith was a "proud father, amazing brother and a loving son". He was "dearly loved" by his family and is "dearly missed".

Michelle said Keith was a good man who enjoyed the simple things in life. She said he had the ability to convert a room full of strangers to one of friends.

She said her brother enjoyed many sports, but his main hobby was pigeon racing, which he had enjoyed since childhood.

Michelle said his family's world shattered on the day Keith was killed and the family was "broken" by what happened.

She said that Keith will never again walk through the door, never embrace his sons and never get to enjoy them growing up.

She also said the family will never see him smile again and will never hear his last words.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy sentenced McDonald to the mandatory life in prison.

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