Victim fought with gunman, widow tells murder trial
The widow of a man who was shot and killed by an armed robber has told a jury her husband shouted: “OK, go on — shoot me you b******” as he wrestled with him.
Sally Kerr told Belfast Crown Court how her husband Geoff was “pounding” on 35-year-old Darren Kernohan’s head with an antique soup terrine dish as he tried to get him to drop the gun.
However, she said she believed her husband’s actions gave Kernohan the opportunity to grab the gun which he had dropped and shoot Mr Kerr (60) dead.
Kernohan, from Moss Drive in Antrim, denies murdering financial adviser and gun enthusiast Mr Kerr on April 27, 2009.
Earlier yesterday his co-accused — Martin Fleming (51), from the Churchill Road in Larne — was jailed for life after he pleaded guilty to murdering Mr Kerr.
Crown prosecutors say the pair went to the Kerr home at The Village in Templepatrick just before 10pm to steal the numerous legally held firearms Mr Kerr owned. Kernohan was allegedly armed with a handgun.
Mrs Kerr told the jury that on the night of the killing the couple had settled down to watch the last episode of Hell's Kitchen when there were three “sharp” knocks at the front door.
She said that as she opened it the man, who Kernohan has accepted was him, forced her back against a wall and put something “very, very hard” against her head at the left temple.
“He was right up into my face and he kept saying ‘where is he, where is he?’ I just said I don't know what you are talking about,” Mrs Kerr told the court.
As Mr Kerr came towards the door to see what had happened, she described how Kernohan “swung” the gun around and pointed it at his head and upper body, but that her husband grabbed him by the wrists, trying to shake the weapon out of his hands.
“At some point as this tussle began Geoff said ‘OK, go on — shoot me you b******'. I believe that I was frozen to the spot just momentarily,” said Mrs Kerr.
Asked by prosecuting QC Ciaran Murphy what happened next, she said her husband began to hit Kernohan over the head with the heavy china dish and that after she heard something “clatter” to the wooden floor, Mr Kerr shouted: “Get the gun Sally, get the gun.”
At the time of Mr Kerr’s killing, the couple had been married for 30 years. The trial continues.