Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Car hit woman trying to save dying stab victim, court hears

A trained first-aider who was run over as she tried to save the life of her best friend's husband said yesterday she believed she was going to die.

Her voice shaking with emotion as she gave evidence at Belfast Crown Court, Mrs Martina Donaghy said that, as she tried to stem the flow of blood from Eamonn Hughes's chest, she heard someone screaming, “Oh my God they're coming again” and an engine revving. Then she felt the impact as a hijacked taxi ploughed into her and her daughter Emma.

As she came round after the crash, Mrs Donaghy said she knew her left leg was broken, could feel a “burning sensation” in her right leg and “I actually thought I was dying, to be honest”.

In the dock denying trying to kill her and her daughter are 23-year-old Martin Murray, from Windmill Drive, his cousin Liam Murray (24), from Windmill Court, 24-year-old Kevin Toye, from Windmill Court, all Dungannon, and 25-year-old William McDonagh, from Kew Gardens in Ballymena.

The four are also charged with murdering 49-year-old Eamonn Hughes, who was stabbed once in the heart on September 14, 2008 as he walked home from his daughter's 18th birthday party.

A fifth man, Kevin Murray (41), from Lisnahull Gardens, Dungannon, who is an uncle to the other two Murrays, denies attempting to murder Mr Hughes's son Kevin after he allegedly shot him in the arm with a crossbow.

According to the Crown case, Martin Murray was the knifeman who stabbed Mr Hughes in the chest and Toye was the driver of the hijacked taxi which ran over the mother and daughter.

Mrs Donaghy told the no-jury trial judge, Mr Justice Treacy, there had been a celebratory atmosphere at Siobhann Hughes's birthday party in the Irish National Foresters Club in Dungannon.

But as she went to leave with Mrs Eileen Hughes, door staff kept them inside for a few minutes because there was a fight outside.

She said Mrs Hughes was a little upset at her son Kevin being involved, commenting that “we can never go out without there being trouble”.

Mrs Donaghy told the court that as she walked back towards the Hughes' home in the Lisnahull estate to continue the party, she saw her brother Patsy Vincent standing in front of a man with his arms up in the air.

“At that stage I ran towards Patsy because I had seen a fella standing in front of the car with a knife in his hand ... waving it in front of him,” Mrs Donaghy said, adding that her brother was telling the man “calm down, put the knife down”.

Asked by prosecuting lawyer Fiona O'Kane what happened next, the witness said she turned to check that her daughter was safe but that when she turned back, Mr Hughes was falling to the ground.

Trying to contain her tears, Mrs Donaghy said she immediately “knew something wasn't right” so she rushed forward to help him.

“I rolled him over, I called his name — he never responded. Eileen [Hughes] was beside me shouting ‘Eamonn, Eamonn' ... begging him not to leave her,” she said. She added that while she was concentrating on Mr Hughes she “could hear ‘Oh my God, they're coming again'. I could hear the revs of an engine ... and the next thing I was hit by the car”.

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