Geordie Gilmore witness feared he'd be killed in chaotic aftermath of gun attack
The aftermath of Geordie Gilmore's murder was "chaotic", a witness to the fatal shooting told a court yesterday.
The man was in the front seat of Mr Gilmore's Vauxhall Insignia when it was targeted in a gun attack in the Woodburn area of Carrick on March 13 last year.
Three men are on trial charged with murdering the 44-year-old, who died from a catastrophic brain injury, and attempting to murder his two passengers.
David McMaw (30), from Starbog Road in Larne, his brother Darren McMaw (33), from Kilgreel Road in Carrick, and 36-year-old Brian McLean, from Valetta Park in Newtownards, deny the charges.
The passenger said in evidence at Belfast Crown Court that the shooting of his friend had left him traumatised.
Denying Mr Gilmore's death was part of a feud, he also rejected suggestions that he wrongly tried to blame David McMaw and Brian McLean for the shooting.
Speaking at the second week of the non-jury trial, Mr Gilmore Snr's front-seat passenger described the murder scene as "chaotic" and said he remembered hearing children and women screaming in the street.
The Carrickfergus man, who described himself as a friend of the Gilmore family, confirmed that on the day of the incident he was in the front of Mr Gilmore's Insignia as it drove through the Woodburn estate.
The witness said that as the vehicle entered the estate, he saw David 'Dee Dee' McMaw and 'Scotch' Brian McClean at Cherry Walk, with McMaw "smirking".
He claimed that as they drove around, he saw McLean "step out of an entryway and look down at the vehicle travelling towards him, which was us", adding that immediately afterwards he saw David McMaw "slightly crouched down behind a wall in the entryway". He continued: "He was pulling down a balaclava over his face, but he appeared to be quite flustered. I noticed in his right hand he had a handgun. That's when I proceeded to shout 'gun, gun, gun'."
The witness said Mr Gilmore "started to accelerate" after he shouted the warning, explaining to the prosecution that he saw David McMaw then reach the entrance of the alleyway "as we just got level with him".
"I believe then we had just enough time to get past him before he started firing the first shots," he said.
"I started hearing the gunshots. I froze in panic and tried to hide behind the seat.
Telling the court the Insignia then crashed into the wall of a house, the witness said he initially had difficulty getting out of the vehicle and feared "they were going to try and kill me too".
However, he eventually made it out of the car and phoned 999.
As he waited for an ambulance, the witness was confronted with scenes of "chaos", with a woman running out of her home screaming after a bullet went through a window.
When George Gilmore Junior arrived at the area of the attack, he was in "total disbelief and shock", he added.
The witness was then cross-examined by Eilis McDermott QC, representing David McMaw, who asked if he was aware of a feud in the lead-up to Mr Gilmore's death.
In response, the man said that although it was "being branded a feud", he didn't agree with that term.
However, he conceded the matter could be viewed as a "disagreement going on for a number of months".
Asked why he didn't tell police at the scene or during the 999 call who he believed the gunman was, he stressed he had been in a state of shock.
When it was suggested to him by Ms McDermott that he heard McMaw's name being mentioned by people at the murder scene, he said he was certain that he saw McMaw.
The witness was also asked by Brendan Kelly QC, representing McLean, why he had not mentioned his client's name to the police or emergency services at the time.
He said: "My main focus was trying to save a man's life."
When asked by Mr Kelly if he had "brought Scotch Brian in to a role ... have you decided to blame him as well?", the witness said that before shots were fired, he saw McLean "looking down the street, I assume ... to scout us."
The hearing continues.