herald

Friday 6 December 2019

I was lying about my ex's 'kill threats', woman tells attempted murder trial

Rachel Kirwan outside court
Rachel Kirwan outside court

A mother-of-two has told a trial that she was lying when she told gardai her former partner had threatened to kill her boyfriend's mother and "leave him grieving for two weeks and then put him out of his misery".

Rachel Kirwan told the trial of Robert Lawlor (35) that she made up the story to "paint him in the worst light possible" after being told by her boyfriend's mother, Fiona Mitchell, that there was no doubt that he [Mr Lawlor] was the gunman who fired two shots at her [Ms Mitchell's] home.

She said that when she found out she had been lied to, she changed her statement.

Mr Lawlor, the Rise, Laytown, Co Meath, has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of Ms Mitchell at Moatview Avenue, Priorswood, Dublin, on May 26 last year.

The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life at the same address on that date.

Mr Lawlor also pleaded not guilty to making a threat to Ms Kirwan at Donaghmede, Dublin, on a date unknown between January 1 and 31, 2018, to kill or cause serious harm to Ms Mitchell and her son, Derek Mitchell.

He also pleaded not guilty to shooting a dog at the Priorswood address on that date.

Argument

Sergeant Selina Proudfoot yesterday told prosecuting counsel John O'Kelly SC that she took a statement from Ms Kirwan (33) at Raheny Garda Station in May 2018.

Sgt Proudfoot said Ms Kirwan detailed her relationship with Mr Lawlor. She said she started seeing him 12 years previously and had two children with him but was, at the time, seeing Derek Mitchell.

When Mr Lawlor found out she was in a relationship with Mr Mitchell, she said there was an argument and Mr Lawlor started making threats.

She described how he threatened to kill Derek Mitchell's mother and "leave him grieving for two weeks and then put him out of his misery".

The witness said she did not think Mr Lawlor would go to Ms Mitchell's house.

However, then during one phone call, she heard a dog barking at Ms Mitchell's house. She heard Ms Mitchell say: "Hang on, why is that dog barking" and then she heard Ms Mitchell screaming: "He's here, he's here, its happening." She then heard gunshots.

She described her relief when she drove to Ms Mitchell's house and found her alive and well with gardai arriving.

Ms Kirwan then took the stand and told defence counsel Patrick McGrath SC that when she made that statement, she was lying.

She also confirmed that in April 2019, she went to a garda station to say she had lied.

When asked why, she said that following the shooting, Ms Mitchell told her there was no doubt Mr Lawlor was responsible and that there was DNA evidence to prove it.

She said she felt "riddled with guilt and had to do and say whatever I could to get him off the streets".

Ms Kirwan continues her testimony before the jury and Mr Justice Paul McDermott tomorrow.

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