Trial of man accused of murdering David Douglas opens
The trial of a man accused of the murder of David Douglas, who was shot dead five years ago in Dublin, opened this morning in the Special Criminal Court where prosecutors say the court is gaining evidence of a “meticulously and carefully planned assassination attempt” Listen. .
Lee Canavan, 31, of Edenbrook, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14, has pleaded not guilty of the murder of Mr Douglas, 55, who was shot dead on July 1, 2016 in Shoestown, Bridgefoot Street, Dublin 1.
He also denies criminal damage to a vehicle on July 4th 2016 on Strand Road, Sandymount, owned by Teresa Devoy.
Mr. Canavan is the fourth person to appear before the courts charged with the murder. The state claims that Mr. Canavan “literally pulled the trigger” on the crime.
Mr Sean Gillane SC, who opened the case for the state, said the murder was “carefully and carefully planned to ensure that David Douglas found his death”.
Mr Gillane said the court would hear evidence of Mr Douglas being shot dead in his shop while working with his daughter and was fatally wounded in which he sustained six gunshot wounds.
The attorney said Mr Douglas was found lying on his back after the shooting with injuries to his chest, neck, back, torso, elbows and jaw.
Mr Gillane said evidence will be heard that a semi-automatic pistol with the “hammer of the weapon with the serial number removed still cocked near the head of Mr Douglas” was found. He was pronounced dead by emergency services at 4:55 p.m.
Mr Gillane said it was the case of the state that a man in dark clothes who walked into Mr Douglas’ store shortly after 4 p.m. on the day of the shooting was Mr Canavan. The attorney added that this man then ran towards the Oliver Bond apartment block in Dublin’s Liberties.
The attorney said that on the day of the shooting, Mr Douglas was seen by witnesses trying to get food and return to his daughter in the business he owned with his partner.
Immediately after the shooting, Mr Douglas’ daughter rushed to his aid and emergency services were called.
Mr Gillane said the man in dark clothes then got into a waiting Mercedes on Oliver Bond Street which witnesses said would drive off.
The Mercedes was then set on fire near Carman’s Hall in Dublin 8.
The attorney said that in the course of lighting the Mercedes, however, the driver’s leg caught fire and, with his leg still lit, he ran with Mr Canavan towards a Suzuki Swift, a stolen vehicle that was itself set on fire three days later on Strand Road .
Mr Gillane said the court would learn of the movements of four vehicles that day and that evidence would be presented linking Mr Canavan to two cars involved through a fingerprint and DNA sample.
The lawyer said a number of items were removed from the Mercedes, including the “burned carcasses from cell phones and a balaclava”.
He said that although the two alleged crimes were three days apart, they were “closely related”.
Regarding the Suzuki burning allegation, Gillane said the state alleged that two men, Mr. Canavan and one Mr. Foley, who drove were in a blue Mitsubishi Mirage and smelled both the inside of the Mitsubishi and their clothes of gasoline.
In January 2019, Nathan Foley, 22, of Maryland, Dublin 8, was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to helping a criminal organization by driving one of four cars and buying cell phones used in the crime .
In August 2018, Frederick ‘Fat Freddie’ Thompson was jailed for life by the Special Criminal Court for the murder of Mr Douglas. Mr. Michael Bowman SC, who was defending Mr. Canavan, said there had been a live appeal in the Thompson case.
Gardaí arrested both men on suspicion of criminal harm and both the Suzuki and Mitsubishi were recovered for analysis, he said.
A fourth car, a Ford Fiesta, was used for logistics and spotting, he added.
“Four vehicles were used together in planning and carrying out the murder,” he said, adding that the movements of these vehicles are key to understanding the murder.
Mr Gillane said some CCTV footage was “crystal clear as to the vehicles and people involved”.
The attorney said the stolen Mercedes was “ultimately the murder vehicle” and “offside on Lullymore Terrace for later use on the morning of the murder” around 3:44 pm.
Mr Gillane said evidence will be heard that Frederick Thompson got off the fiesta on Meath Street that day and spoke to a woman while breaking a cellphone while looking at the crime scene.
He said the state claims that two men later left the Mitsubishi near St. Stephen’s Green and went to a restaurant on Capel Street and that these two men were Mr. Canavan and Thompson.
Mr Gillane said evidence will show Mr Canavan and Thompson were later escorted to the restaurant by Mr Foley.
The attorney said Thomspon’s fingerprint was found at the Fiesta while his DNA was found in a sample taken from an inhaler in the Mitsubishi.
Mr Gillane said forensic analysis and CCTV evidence would provide “unambiguous identification” of who got off the Mitsubishi after the Suzuki burned down, which was “ultimately the getaway car.”
The case will continue in the non-jury court on Tuesday, before Judge Michael McGrath, Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin and Judge Dermot Dempsey preside. It’s scheduled for four weeks.