Saturday 25 January 2020

Lawlor mouths 'thank you' as he's cleared of attempted gun murder

Robert Lawlor was found not guilty of all five charges
Robert Lawlor was found not guilty of all five charges

A father-of-three has been found not guilty of threatening to murder his ex-girlfriend's partner and of attempting to murder the man's mother by firing shots into her home.

The ex-girlfriend of accused man Robert Lawlor (35) took the stand during the trial, when she resiled from a statement she gave to gardai alleging her former partner had threatened to kill her boyfriend Derek Mitchell and his mother.

Following a trial at the Central Criminal Court, the jury of seven men and five women took two hours and 40 minutes to find Mr Lawlor not guilty of all five charges against him.

He nodded his head and mouthed "thank you" in the direction of the jury as the court registrar read out the verdicts one by one.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott thanked the jurors for their patience and exempted them from further service for five years.

Mr Lawlor (35), of The Rise, Laytown, Co Meath, had pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of Fiona Mitchell at Moatview Avenue, Priorswood, Dublin, on May 26 last year.

He also pleaded not guilty to the charge of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life at Moatview Avenue, Priorswood, Dublin, on the same date.

He pleaded not guilty to making a threat to Rachel Kirwan at Donaghmede, Dublin, on a date unknown between January 1 and 31 last year, to kill or cause serious harm to Ms Mitchell and her son Mr Mitchell.

He also denied shooting Ms Mitchell's dog, Chopper, endangering its health and welfare, at Moatview Avenue, Priorswood, on May 26 last year.

Ms Mitchell told the jury that she was at home when she heard her dog "going mad barking" in her back garden at around 1am.


She looked out of her kitchen window and saw two men on her back wall. She went to the patio doors for a closer look and said she saw Mr Lawlor facing her with a gun.

She ran, locked the door from the kitchen to the hall and screamed at her son, Jason, to get out of the house.

Jason escaped to the front garden through a window and Ms Mitchell fled through the front door as she heard gunshots being fired.

Gardai found four bullets: one killed Chopper, one was on the back decking, another in the kitchen and one in the front garden that was fired from the kitchen and went through the front door.

While Ms Mitchell had never met Mr Lawlor, she said she had studied photos and videos of him on Facebook and Insta- gram.

She said she was told Mr Lawlor had threatened to kill her, so she wanted to know what he looked like.

Defence barrister Patrick McGrath said Ms Mitchell's evidence was "neither reliable nor truthful".

In interviews with gardai, Mr Lawlor suggested that the Hutches or Kinahans could have been behind the attack on the Mitchell house.

He claimed that slain gangster Kane McCormack had hidden out in the Mitchells' garden shed before he was shot dead in December 2017. This was denied by Ms Mitchell.

Mr Justice McDermott told the jury to be "especially caut-ious" when relying on identification evidence because mistakes had been made in the past, even in cases where two or more honest witnesses identified the same person.

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