herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Murder witness gave gardai info on IRA structure

Peter Butterly
Peter Butterly
Garda forensics examine a Renault car with two bullet holes [ windscreen and bonnet] at the scene outside the Huntsman Inn at Gormanstown where Peter Butterly from Louth was shot dead yesterday afternoon

The trial of three men charged with murdering dissident republican Peter Butterly has heard that their former co- accused turned prosecution witness gave gardai information regarding an earlier fatal shooting and the structure of the IRA.

Edward McGrath (32), of Land Dale Lawns, Springfield, Tallaght; Dean Evans (22), of Grange Park Rise, Raheny; and Sharif Kelly (43) of Pinewood Green Road, Balbriggan have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Peter Butterly (35), who was shot dead in the car park of the Huntsman Inn at Gormanston, Co Meath, on March 6, 2013.

Mr Evans and Mr McGrath have also pleaded not guilty to firearm offences at the same address and on the same date.

Shots

The Special Criminal Court has heard that Mr Butterly was "lured" to the car park by another man not before the court and was then shot at from a Toyota Corolla car.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms Una Ni Raifeartaigh, said "it would appear from eyewitness accounts that Mr Butterly exited his car and tried to flee the scene, but further shots were discharged and he fell to the ground".

Ms Ni Raifeartaigh said the DPP's case would call on forensic evidence, firearm residue evidence, DNA evidence and also evidence from David Cullen (30), with a last address at Brackenwood Avenue, Balbriggan, who was "part of the murder plan himself".

Yesterday, the liaison officer in the Garda's witness protection programme, Det Chief Supt John Gilligan told the court that he first heard of David Cullen's offer of information on June 25 of this year.

Earlier, a senior garda attached to the special detective unit at Harcourt Square, Dublin, said Mr Cullen was willing to give evidence in relation to the fatal shooting of Peter Butterly and another murder investigation dating back to a previous time.

Prison

In addition, Mr Cullen was willing to give gardai "other information relating to the happenings in Portlaoise prison" and the general structure of the IRA.

Under cross examination from Mr Kelly's barrister, Giollaiosa O Lideadha, Det Supt Maguire denied there was a deliberate policy of not taking enough notes during conversations with Mr Cullen's solicitor.

When asked what was said by Mr Cullen's solicitor regarding money, Det Supt Maguire said he spoke about relocation and immunity from prosecution.

The senior garda agreed that he couldn't remember everything that was said during conversations with Mr Cullen or his solicitor.

The detective superintendent agreed that Mr Cullen's offer of information was "quite unusual, yes".

The case continues today in the non-jury Special Criminal Court.

hnews@herald.ie

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