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Victim threatened to kill teen, court is told

A "lifelong friend" of a teenager accused of shooting dead his neighbour has told his murder trial that the shooting victim had threatened to kill the teen.

Veronica Glynn said Conor Duffy (18), arrived at her house in East Wall, Dublin, in December 2008, shortly after Aidan O'Kane was shot. He was in a panicked state and gasping for breath, "as if he had run for dear life".

She said he kept mumbling "I shouldn't have done it, I didn't mean it." She then got a phone call to say a man had been shot in the area, and she guessed it had something to do with why Duffy was upset.

Duffy asked if he could have a shower and then rang a friend to come to the house. When his friend arrived, Duffy gave him a bag of clothes asking him to get rid of them. The friend also went to get the gun and hide it.

Ms Glynn (22) said Duffy then told her he'd had an argument with Mr O'Kane, his 50-year-old neighbour.



Balaclava

Duffy said he had been "fighting with Mr O'Kane for quite some time" and the mechanic had "threatened to kill him". He became afraid that evening when he saw Mr O'Kane wearing a balaclava and with something in his jacket that he thought he was going to take out and use to kill him.

"Conor got afraid... he went and robbed a gun because he thought Mr O'Kane was going to kill him," the witness said. Duffy also said he thought he had only shot Mr O'Kane in the leg.

On the day following the shooting, Ms Glynn said Duffy told her he was going to hand himself in to gardai, but moments after this conversation, gardai arrived at her door and arrested them both.

Duffy, of St Mary's Road in East Wall, is pleading not guilty to murdering Mr O'Kane, who died after he was shot once in the chest.

The court has previously heard that Mr O'Kane had been harassed for months prior to his death by groups of local teenagers, who would taunt him and throw eggs at his house.



Baton

On the evening of December 7, 2008, after his house was attacked again, he decided to confront the youths and changed into a biker jacket and balaclava and armed himself with a retractable baton.

When he emerged from the house, people started screaming that he had a gun. He ran at one group of youths, and then Duffy appeared on a bike.

An eyewitness told the trial that Duffy began to zig-zag slowly in front of Mr O'Kane, who appeared to be getting frustrated. Someone shouted at Duffy to run, so he jumped off the bike and ran down a laneway off Bargy Road, with Mr O'Kane in pursuit. Then there was a loud bang.

Detective Sergeant Walter O'Connell also told the court that another young witness told gardai he had seen Duffy with a gun, and had then seen him pointing it and shooting Mr O'Kane before sprinting away.

The witness also said Mr O'Kane had a knife in his hands before he fell to the ground.

In his direct evidence to the court, however, the 15-year-old witness said he didn't really remember "any of it".

hnews@herald.ie