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'Eddie was a loving man who lost his life in his home where he should have been safe'

Innocent Eddie Nugent was laid low with the flu at home when he answered the door to a gunman and died in a hail of bullets. In part three of our Unsolved series, Conor Feehan hears Eddie's family speak of their devastation that his killer still walks the streets

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Innocent victim Eddie Nugent

Innocent victim Eddie Nugent

Innocent victim Eddie Nugent

Eddie Nugent heard the doorbell ring. It was just before 9.30pm on Sunday, February 15, 2015.

He would usually be out for a drink with his wife Ann at that time, but because he was getting over the flu, the 64-year-old had decided to stay at home.

He told Ann to go on to the pub with their friends because he didn't want her missing out, and decided to watch some fishing shows on TV.

It was the first time Ann had left him at home on a Sunday night.

Eddie's son Thomas was in the house on Harty Avenue, Walkins- town, with his girlfriend. He heard the doorbell and he heard his dad go to answer it.

Destroy

What happened in the next few seconds would destroy the Nugents' lives for ever.

"I heard my dad say 'Get down' twice and then crack, crack, crack. Dad was conscious, but he couldn't breathe. The last thing he said was 'I'm gone'," Thomas would later tell the inquest into his father's death.

The person who killed grandad Eddie shot him through the centre window of the glazed porch at the front of the house.

A garda investigation was carried out and a number of arrests were made, but no prosecutions followed.

The killer is still walking the streets.

Eddie was an innocent man. His family are innocent and not involved in crime.

The former truck driver was a big fan of fishing, respected in his community and loved by his family.

They say that despite the lack of a conviction, they still hold out hope of getting justice for Eddie, who should still be enjoying fishing trips, sing-songs in the pub with his family and friends and watching his grandchildren growing up.

"On the night of February 15, 2015, our lives were turned from a normal household into a nightmare. Our lives were turned upside down," Ann said.

"Eddie was a kind and loving man who lost his life prematurely in his own home where he should have been safe and secure.

"The perpetrator who committed this atrocity will have to live with this on their conscience until the day they die.

"Eddie lived for me and our sons. He was deprived of meeting his first grandson and second granddaughter. He was idolised by his only granddaughter at the time."

Eddie's death was not the first that has hit the family. In 2000, their he and Ann's 18-year-old son was killed in a car crash.

"Eddie lived with a broken heart since the tragic death of our first son Stephen and grieved every day until he joined him on that fateful day," Ann said.

Enjoyed

"He was a hard-working man. He did his best to make sure we didn't go without. He was 64 when he died and had worked hard from the age of 14. He worked six days a week and always said once you're all right, that's all that matters."

If Eddie had been well on the night he was murdered, he would have been in the Kestrel pub at the Walkinstown Round- about, a few hundred metres from his home.

It was there that he and Ann enjoyed meeting their friends and getting up to sing a few songs.

"He had a lovely singing voice and delighted everyone when he took to the stage," Ann said.

"He loved the Gene Pitney and Roy Orbison songs.

"We have been robbed of so many memories that were in the making. Eddie was a real community man.

"He was well-known to many through his work, he was loved by all our neighbours and most especially his friends, who are also grieving.

"Eddie loved his home and garden and fishing and was happiest when doing these things."

Ann said the manner of her husband's death is something the family will never get over.

She works with the Walkinstown/Greenhills Resource Centre, and even before Eddie's murder she was helping people deal with grief and adverse situations and giving them the tools and training to cope in difficult times.

"I've been helping provide this service to others, but little did I realise that I'd be applying it to myself some day," Ann said.

"I've gone from being the one providing the service to being the one availing of it."

Arrests were made during the investigation into Eddie's murder, but the Director of Public Prosecutions felt there was insufficient evidence to bring charges at that time.

That was something the Nugent family appealed, but without success.

Whoever killed Eddie that night had planned to commit murder, but they went to the wrong house and got the wrong man.

Stolen

Earlier that evening, a silver-coloured Honda Civic was stolen in Kilmainham.

Only minutes after the murder, it was discovered, partially burnt-out, at the Esposito Road/John McCormack Avenue junction in Walkinstown.

At Eddie's funeral at the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Walkinstown, symbols brought to the altar included a garden gnome to symbolise his love of gardening, a boat as a sign of his love of boats and fishing and a family photo.

Gardai know no reason why Eddie would have been killed, and it was a case of mistaken identity.

"We've been told the case is closed now, unless new evidence comes to light," Ann said. "We will never get over the events of that night, it has taken its toll on us.

"We as a family would like to acknowledge how people in our community and very kind friends helped us cope through this terrible loss.

"We're grateful to the gardaĆ­ who treated us with respect, compassion and kindness and have assured us they're working tirelessly to bring us justice for the taking of the life of an innocent man.

"We look forward to getting justice for the death of our beloved husband, father and grandfather and bringing closure to our heartache."