Murder victim shot in the back

A victim of a shooting attack in a Donegal village died from massive blood loss after being shot in the back, the trial into his murder has heard.

A victim of a shooting attack in a Donegal village died from massive blood loss after being shot in the back, the trial into his murder has heard.

Martin Kelly (36), a bus driver, of Barrack St, Strabane, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 27-year-old Andrew Burns, also from Strabane, at Donnyloop, Castlefin, on February 12th 2008.

It is the prosecution’s case that Kelly was part of a joint enterprise to lure Mr Burns from Strabane to Donnyloop, where he was shot twice.

Yesterday the trial at the Special Criminal Court, which is expected to last three weeks, heard evidence from State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy who said Mr. Burns died from a gunshot wound to his back which caused massive loss of blood.

State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy told the court today that she carried out a post mortem on Mr Burns’s body on February 13. She found four gunshot wounds, two entry wounds and two exit wounds, showing that two shots had hit him.

She said that no bullets were recovered. One gunshot wound was a flesh wound to the left shoulder. The other gunshot had entered the right side of the back and had caused injuries to the aorta and bowel.

She said the bullet had entered the right side of the aorta which is main blood vessel. “This man died from gunshot injuries,” she added.

The gunshot wound to the back had penetrated the abdominal cavity and Mr Burns had lost “a substantial quantity of blood which caused his collapse and death”.

“As death was due to blood loss he would have been capable of walking for a considerable distance before collapsing. Without urgent surgical intervention he could not have survived,” she said.

Dr Cassidy said that the fatal wound went diagonally upwards through the body and this suggested that Mr Burns was possibly moving away from his assailant when he was shot.

On the opening day of the trial prosecuting counsel Mr Tom O’Connell SC said that Martin Kelly was part of a joint enterprise to lure Mr Andrew Burns, who lived in Strabane. to the car park at Donnyloop which is just across the border.

The shooting was heard by a group of five young people from Clady, Co Tyrone who were walking in the area, he added.

He said that on the day of the murder Mr Burns spent the day at the home of his elderly parents, three miles outside Strabane, and they dropped him back to the town around 6.45pm.

A group of five young people from Clady in Co Tyrone, which is 1.4 kilometres from Donnyloop, were walking along the road just after 7pm. Two of them would give evidence that they heard two shots about 7.10pm.

They also saw a silver car drive in the direction of the car park then drive past them at high speed. Later they saw the body of Mr Burns on the road.

Some of the young people saw Mr Burns stumble on to the roadway, an ambulance was called and arrived at 7.35pm. Mr Burns was pronounced dead by a doctor at 7.58pm.

Mr O’Connell told the court that Kelly was arrested in Milford, Co Donegal in February, 2010 and he was taken to Letterkenny Garda Station where he underwent 17 hours and 22 minutes of interviews by gardaí.

Counsel said that Kelly made a number of statements to gardai and the court was told that the defence are challenging the admissibility of the alleged statements on the grounds that they were not made voluntarily.

The trial continues.