Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A 35-year-old man attempted to murder a woman because he could not accept her son was in a relationship with his former partner, the Central Criminal Court heard today.

The trial jury also heard today that a dog who began “barking and raising the alarm” when confronted by the alleged gunmen was shot dead.

Robert Lawlor, with an address at the Rise, Laytown, Co Meath has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of Fiona Mitchell at Moatview Avenue, Priorswood, Dublin on May 26, 2018.

The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life at Moatview Avenue, Priorswood on the same date.

Mr Lawlor also pleaded not guilty to making a threat to Rachel Kirwan at Donaghmede, Dublin on a date unknown between January 1 and 31 2018 to kill or cause serious harm to Fiona Mitchell and her son Derek Mitchell.

He also pleaded not guilty to shooting a dog endangering its health and welfare at Moatview Avenue, Priorswood on May 26, 2018.

Mr John O’Kelly SC, for the State, told the jury of seven men and five women in the Central Criminal Court toda that of the five counts against Mr Lawlor the most serious is that of the attempted murder of Ms Mitchell, but that all charges are related to that event.

“They are all part and parcel of something that started in January 2018”, Mr Kelly said.

Mr O’Kelly told the court that Mr Lawlor and Ms Kirwan had been partners for around 12 years and had two children together.

Ms Kirwan met Derek Mitchell and started a relationship with him in the summer of 2017 but Mr Lawlor didn’t find out about her new partner until Christmas 2017, the court heard.

Mr O’Kelly said that when Mr Lawlor found out about his former partner’s new relationship, he began to direct a “campaign of threats and intimidation” at Ms Kirwan to get her to break up with Mr Mitchell, which accumulated in the attempted murder of Mr Mitchell’s mother.

Mr O’Kelly told the jury that Ms Mitchell was getting ready for bed when she heard her dog barking in the back garden at around 1am on May 26, 2018.

When she looked out her window she saw two men, one with a gun in his hand, coming over the wall and into the back garden, Mr O’Kelly said.

Mr O’Kelly told the court that she recognised the man with the gun as Mr Lawlor.

A shot was fired shattering the patio door and Ms Mitchell ran from the kitchen locking the door behind her and was running up the hall when another shot was fired behind her, the jury was told.

Gardai arrived at the house but the gunman and the other man had escaped, Mr O’Kelly said.

Gardai went out to the back garden where they found the dog dead.

Mr O’Kelly told the jury that at some stage the dog had been barking and raising the alarm and was shot.

Mr O’Kelly said Ms Mitchell told the gardai immediately the gunman was Robert Lawlor.

She was in no doubt as she had been receiving indirectly death threats from him over previous months, Mr O’Kelly said.

Mr Lawlor was not prepared to accept the continued relationship between Mr Mitchell and his former partner, Mr O’Kelly said.

Mr O’Kelly told the jury that CCTV evidence does not identify the gunman but does show two men going past another house towards the Mitchell household just before the attack and getting away a few minutes later.

Ms Mitchell was in so much fear she was following Mr Lawlor’s Facebook and Instagram accounts so she could get a sense of ease when she knew he was out of the country, Mr O’Kelly said.

The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Paul McDermott.

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