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Cartel killer loses appeal over Sunset House feud murder

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Eamonn Cumberton was jailed for life in January 2018 over the murder of Michael Barr at the Sunset House pub

Eamonn Cumberton was jailed for life in January 2018 over the murder of Michael Barr at the Sunset House pub

Eamonn Cumberton was jailed for life in January 2018 over the murder of Michael Barr at the Sunset House pub

A man given a life sentence for the Kinahan cartel murder of Michael Barr has failed in his appeal against his conviction.

Eamonn Cumberton (32), of Mountjoy Street, Dublin, had denied the murder of Mr Barr (35) in the Sunset House pub in the north inner city on April 25, 2016.

Mr Barr was at the bar when two men wearing Freddy Krueger masks walked in.

One of them shot him seven times, in what the Special Criminal Court described as a "deliberate" and "planned" execution.

In dismissing Cumberton's appeal yesterday, the three-judge Court of Appeal stated that it was completely satisfied that his trial was satisfactory and that the verdict was safe.

Flames

Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding at the trial, had said that Cumberton was one of three culprits seen dumping items connected with the killing into the getaway car.

The Audi was later found partially burnt-out on Walsh Road, Drumcondra, but gardai were able to extinguish the flames.

Officers found three rubber masks, a baseball cap and four firearms in the car.

These items were "intimately connected with the killing", Mr Justice Hunt said, describing the masks as "eye-catching, lurid and distinctive".

He added that the court was satisfied that DNA found on the baseball cap and one of the rubber masks was Cumberton's.

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Michael Barr

Michael Barr

Michael Barr

The court also relied on the circumstantial evidence of Cumberton's "highly unusual" trip to Thailand around the time of the killing, when he had gone to the airport with no luggage, but was prevented from boarding the plane because his passport was due to expire.

He was jailed for life on January 29, 2018.

Cumberton moved to appeal his conviction on 28 grounds of appeal.

However, the three judges did not accept the argument of his barrister, Padraig Dwyer SC, that he would not have attended Store Street Garda Station for an emergency were he trying to escape the police.

The judges yesterday noted that the accused had spent nearly €900 on his last-minute trip, together with the cost of changing the flight and obtaining a new passport at short notice.

Extraordinary

"Neither the accused nor anybody else can obtain an expedited passport without the necessity of paying such a visit to their local garda station," the judges added.

Mr Dwyer had further submitted that the Special Criminal Court had erred in characterising as "extraordinary" a theory that it was possible for DNA to transfer through the air from object to object.

He said the court treated as "speculative" and "remote" any possibility that DNA particles were shifted from the use of a fire extinguisher in the car that was found partially burnt-out by gardai.

Mr Dwyer said the garda who examined the baseball cap and one of the rubber masks had not changed gloves between inspecting the items.

However, the court yesterday ruled that the Special Criminal Court's findings of fact were "unassailable" and that it had not erred in principle.

Mr Dwyer had also submitted that the Special Criminal Court was wrong to draw inferences from his client's failure to answer certain garda questions.

Mr Justice John Edwards, who sat with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, also dismissed this and all other grounds.