Belfast Telegraph

I begged my dying dad to ‘hang in there’, son tells murder trial

By Paul Higgins

The son of a murder victim pleaded with his father to “stay with us” as he lay dying on a street, a court has heard.

Kevin Hughes (26) recalled Eamon Hughes' final moments at the trial of four men accused of his murder at Belfast Crown Court.

He told the court he ran up to his father and saw “the slice on his chest” before pleading with him to stay alive.

Four defendants deny murdering Mr Hughes on 14 September 2008.

They 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.

All four also deny attempting to murder Martina Donaghy and her daughter Emma, and one charge of affray.

Kevin Murray (41), from Lisnahull Gardens, Dungannon, and who is an uncle to the other two Murrays, denies attempting to murder Kevin Hughes after he allegedly shot him 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 as they tended to the victim.

He was stabbed once through the heart as he walked back to the family home in the Lisnahull estate after celebrating his daughter's 18th birthday at the nearby Irish National Forresters Club.

Yesterday Kevin Hughes said there was some animosity between himself and the Murray family after one of them allegedly smashed the windows of his car, and that after he left the party he had a short fight with a friend of the Murrays.

He described to trial judge Mr Justice Treacy how the family and

some friends were walking back to his father's house when a taxi pulled up and the two Murrays got out.

Mr Hughes claimed he saw a three-inch knife being waved by Martin Murray, who allegedly said he was going to stab him.

Prosecuting QC Terence Mooney asked Mr Hughes what happened next. He said he never took his eyes off Martin Murray because he had a knife, but that Liam Murray was edging closer and so he chased him away.

After Liam Murray jumped back into the taxi, Mr Hughes said it drove off but turned and then came past him “sort of swerving to the left and hitting Martina and Emma and driving on”.

Mr Hughes told the lawyer when he ran to the scene he saw his “father lying on the ground and Martina just up above him a wee bit, and on up was Emma”.

Mr Mooney asked him what he was confronted with and Mr Hughes replied: “I seen my father lying on the ground with his shirt open. I seen the slice on his chest and I knew he had been stabbed.”

He described how he called to his dad but got no response.

“I just told him to hang in there and mentioned my two girls' names to him, said that they need you, hang in there, keep with us,” said Mr Hughes.

Mr Hughes told the court he met a friend who shouted a warning to him to “watch my back” and when he turned around he saw Kevin Murray “pointing a crossbow at me”.

“When I seen him with the crossbow I knew it would have been loaded,” said Mr Hughes, adding that when he turned to run a bolt hit him in the left arm.

The trial continues.

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