herald

Monday 18 December 2017

My son told me he would be shot - mother tells trial

THE mum of a Dublin man shot dead nearly 10 years ago has described for a jury how her son told her: "Mam, they're going to shoot me" just days before his death.

Eileen Ryan was giving evidence in the trial of Darren Byrne (38), who has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Paul Ryan (27) at Coolderry, Birr, Co Offaly on April 12, 2003.

Byrne, of no fixed abode, has also pleaded not guilty to possession of a sawn-off shotgun with intent to endanger life at that location on the same date.

Ms Ryan agreed with Brendan Grehan, defending, that in the week before his death Paul Ryan telephoned her and told her he needed money urgently as there was a contract out on him.

She said that when she asked Paul to clarify what he meant by a contract, he told her: "Mam, they're going to shoot me."

In direct evidence yesterday, Ms Ryan agreed with counsel for the prosecution, Patrick Gageby, that her son had been "very nervous and jittery" for approximately three months prior to his death.

She agreed that sometime before April 2003 she discovered a round hole in a window at the front of her house in Donaghmede, which was subsequently examined by gardai and found to be a bullet hole.

Drugs

Ms Ryan agreed that she also refused a request from her son to "put out a story" that drugs had been found in her home.

She agreed that Paul had asked her to search a list of telephone numbers he had kept at the family home and find the contact for an associate of his who lived in the UK.

Ms Ryan agreed that on the third line of the list the name "Fat" also appeared beside a contact number. She agreed with Mr Gageby that she did not understand how her son came to be "in trouble with gangsters".

Ms Ryan agreed that a former girlfriend of the deceased man, Rachel Kearns, told her that Paul Ryan was afraid to "hang around" the Grangemore area of Donaghmede as they were people "after him".

In her own testimony, Ms Kearns, who is the mother of one of the deceased man's children, agreed with Mr Gageby that Paul Ryan had told her he had "ripped some people off" and was under threat because he had drugs belonging to those people.

It is the prosecution's case that Darren Byrne, who has a nickname of "Fats", shot Paul Ryan in the back, left-hand side of his head after travelling to Birr with him and another man in the early hours of the morning of April 12, 2003.

The trial continues before a jury of seven men and five women presided over by Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan.

hnews@herald.ie

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