| 17.2°C Dublin

Barr killing accused had DNA extracted from items on flight

Close

Gardai at the scene of Michael Barr’s murder at the Sunset House pub in Dublin back in 2016

Gardai at the scene of Michael Barr’s murder at the Sunset House pub in Dublin back in 2016

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Gardai at the scene of Michael Barr’s murder at the Sunset House pub in Dublin back in 2016

A UK man accused of murdering the bar manager of the Sunset House had his DNA profile extracted from items he had used on his extradition flight back to Ireland, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Liverpool native Mr David Hunter (41), of Du Cane Road, White City, London, is accused of the murder of Michael Barr (35) at the Summerhill pub in Dublin's north inner city on the night of April 25, 2016.

Yesterday, the father-of-five pleaded not guilty to the charge at the non-jury court before presiding judge Mr Justice Paul Coffey.

Masks

His barrister Ms Roisin Lacey SC said that she had "formally objected" to the jurisdiction of the court in the matter.

The court heard that Tyrone native Mr Barr, the pub's manager, was shot seven times in all after two men wearing rubber masks over their faces entered the pub at around 9pm.

Prosecuting, Mr Dominic McGinn SC, in his opening statement, said that two armed men, "wearing boiler suits and full rubber masks", entered the bar and shot Mr Barr a number of times in the head and neck.

An emergency call was placed to gardai at 9.33pm but it was not possible to assist Mr Barr and he was later pronounced dead.

Then deputy State pathologist Dr Michael Curtis found that the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.

Mr Barr had been shot fives times in the head, once in the leg and once in the shoulder.

Mr McGinn said that at around 9.20pm at Walsh Road, near Griffith Park, Drumcondra, a silver Audi A6 was seen to arrive and that three occupants got out and set the car alight.

The three men then got in a "possibly silver" Ford Mondeo and left the scene but gardai already in the area arrived at 9.42pm and extinguished the fire.

"The vehicle was examined and cocked and loaded weapons, ready for use, were discovered. Boiler suits, ski masks - or balaclavas - and rubber masks were also found in the rear seat," said Mr McGinn.

When at the scene, Garda Harkin heard a phone ring on a nearby grass embankment. The phone, which had a number of missed calls, was found next to a bullet. The number of the caller was noted but no meaningful fingerprints were found on either the phone or the bullet.

Mr McGinn said that the phone's account was activated shortly before the shooting, along with two other phones.

He said Mr Hunter had come to Ireland with another woman to go to a concert at the time but never went and that "their time in Dublin was punctuated with substances and drink".

Extradition of Mr Hunter from the UK took place, on foot of a European Arrest Warrant, on October 16, 2019.

On his flight to Dublin, the accused ate an apple and used earplugs, both of which were seized and swabbed by gardai.

A cigarette butt and clothing were also seized at Bridewell Garda Station.

Counsel said the court would hear that forensic testing of the items extracted a DNA profile that matched a "mixed profile" from one of the rubber masks and from one of the ski masks.

Mr McGinn said that the "statistics regarding the ski mask are overwhelming".

Mr McGinn said that Mr Hunter and another named woman arrived in Ireland on April 23, 2016, and that he confirmed his use of drink and drugs before flying from Ireland to Spain to get residential rehabilitation at a clinic for addiction issues.

The trial at the non-jury court is expected to last four to five weeks.