Monday 27 January 2020

Woman tells court of moment she faced gunman in garden

Robert Lawlor
Robert Lawlor

A woman has told a jury of the moment she faced a gunman who fired two shots as she fled her home.

Robert Lawlor, of the Rise, Laytown, Co Meath, has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of Fiona 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 the same date.


He also 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 Fiona Mitchell and her son Derek Mitchell.

He further pleaded not guilty to shooting a dog, endangering its health and welfare, at Moatview Avenue, on May 26 last year.

Fiona Mitchell told the Central Criminal Court yesterday that she heard her German shepherd Chopper "going mad barking" in her back garden at around 1am on May 26 last year.

Ms Mitchell said she looked out her kitchen window and saw two men on the wall at the back of her and her neighbour's house and at first thought it was her neighbour's sons taking a short cut home.

Then one of them climbed over a smaller wall between her back garden and her neighbour's while the second man was "just dangling" on the higher wall.

Ms Mitchell told the trial that when she looked out of her patio door she saw Robert Lawlor facing her with a gun.

Prosecution counsel John O'Kelly asked her if she had any doubts who she was seeing and she said she had none.

Ms Mitchell told the jury she ran out of the kitchen, locking the kitchen door behind her, and ran down the hall screaming at her son to get out of the house.

She told the jury she heard two loud bangs, and added: "I never heard a gunshot before".

She ran straight out of the front door to her neighbour's house and hid in her porch,

She tapped her door and her neighbour's son answered.

Ms Mitchell said she recognised Mr Lawlor as she was constantly looking at photos and videos of him on his Facebook and Instagram accounts.


She said her son, Derek Mitchell, is in a relationship with Mr Lawlor's former partner Rachel Kirwan.

Mr O'Kelly asked her if she recalled being in a McDonald's restaurant in the Northside Shopping Centre.

She said she did, that it was just after Christmas 2017 and she was there with her son, Derek.

Ms Mitchell said there was a phone call made to her son's phone and a threat was made.

She said she heard the words "I'm going to kill your ma. I'll give you two weeks to grieve her, and then I'll come back and take you out of your misery."

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