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Thursday 22 November 2018

Thompson's DNA and fingerprints found in cars used for gun murder, trial told

Freddie Thompson in Dublin
Freddie Thompson in Dublin

DNA and CCTV evidence will link Freddie Thompson to two "spotter" vehicles used by a group of men working in concert to murder David Douglas nearly two years ago, a trial has heard.

Opening the trial before the Special Criminal Court, Sean Gillane SC said it was not the prosecution case that Mr Thompson (37) had shot Mr Douglas.

"The prosecution is not saying that Mr Thompson carried out the killing. There was one hand on the gun at the time but there were many fingers on the trigger. It is the prosecution case that one of those belonged to the accused," said Mr Gillane.

Mr Thompson, of Loreto Road, Maryland, Dublin 8, stood and replied "not guilty" when a charge of murder was put to him.

Shotgun

He has denied killing Mr Douglas (55), who was shot six times in his partner's shoe shop in Bridgefoot Street.

In his opening remarks, Mr Gillane said that shortly after 4pm on July 1, 2016, a man wearing dark clothing and carrying a shotgun entered the shop and shot Mr Douglas six times in the chest and neck.

He dropped the gun and ran in the direction of Oliver Bond Street, where he got into a waiting Mercedes.

The car was seen driving hard along Francis Street, before pulling into Spitalfields.

Two men got out and the car was set alight. They ran to a waiting silver Suzuki Swift, which was set alight at Strand Road in Dublin three days later.

Mr Gillane said it was the State's case that four vehicles operated in concert to commit the murder of Mr Douglas - a Mercedes, which was the "murder vehicle", a Suzuki Swift, a Ford Focus and a Mitsubishi Mirage.

He said garda technical experts analysed CCTV footage, and a witness would give evidence of the cars driving in convoy and acting in concert with each other.

DNA and CCTV evidence linked Mr Thompson to two of the vehicles, a silver Focus and a blue Mitsubishi, Mr Gillane said.

These cars were used as "spotter cars and as logistical support in the planning and execution of a murder", he said.

He said Mr Thompson's finger marks were found in the Mitsubishi and on the internal rear-view mirror of the Focus.

Mr Gillane further said Mr Thompson's DNA was found on a hair in the Mitsubishi and on an air freshener and hand sanitiser in the Focus.

The court heard that garda witnesses would give evidence that they identified Mr Thompson as driving the same Ford Focus from CCTV footage.

DNA evidence also linked two other men, known as Mr F and Mr C, to the Mitsubishi and Focus, and CCTV showed Mr Thompson in the company of these men at a restaurant off Grafton Street later that evening, he added.

Curry

Defence counsel Michael O'Higgins SC will object to CCTV and garda identification evidence, the court was told.

The court then heard from a number of witnesses who heard the gunfire or saw the gunman that afternoon.

Youth worker John Shaw testified that he knew Mr Douglas from working in Busy Bees, the after-school service next door to the shoe shop.

He described him as very pleasant, and had given him a bowl of curry just moments before the shooting. He said he thought the first bang was a firework.

He went to the front door and saw a man dressed in black and wearing a balaclava run past in the direction of Oliver Bond Street.

He went outside, saw Mr Douglas lying in the doorway of the shoe shop and called the emergency services.

Mr Shaw said a crowd was gathering at the front door and people were taking pictures on their mobile phones.

He tried to close the door but was unable to do so because Mr Douglas's feet were in the way.

He said Mr Douglas's daughter then came from the back of the shop and when she saw her father she "just lost it".

Three other witnesses, who were all driving in the area at the time, gave evidence of seeing a man dressed in black jump into a silver Mercedes, which then sped away from the scene.

Professor Patrick Plunkett was a specialist in emergency medicine at St James's Hospital, where Mr Douglas was taken.

He said Mr Douglas had no verbal responses, his eyes were closed and he wasn't making any voluntary movements.

Blood

He was also in cardiac arrest, had penetrating wounds to his sternum and had no palpable cardiac output.

"He was dead," he said. "He was not salvageable."

Garda John Murphy and Garda Brian Cleary were the first officers on the scene.

Gda Murphy said a large crowd had gathered outside and he directed them to stand back.

He said he saw a man lying on the ground with gunshot wounds to the right side of his face. There was a gun beside his head and a pool of blood at the back of his head.

The trial continues.

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