Belfast Telegraph

I thought he was going to kill us all, woman tells doorman murder trial

John Stephen Knocker
John Stephen Knocker

By John Cassidy

A woman has told the trial of a man accused of murdering a doorman 21 years ago she took the gun off him as she thought "he was going to kill us all".

Nuala Brid Delaney was giving her evidence at the non-jury Diplock-style trial of Francis Lanigan at Belfast Crown Court via a live link from a courthouse in the Republic of Ireland.

Ms Delaney, who is originally from The Manor, Black's Road in Belfast was convicted in 2000 after pleading guilty to assisting an offender by obtaining a change of clothes for Lanigan, and having a firearm under suspicious circumstances.

Ms Delaney told trial judge Mr Justice Horner, that in 1999 she was questioned by police about the murder of John Stephen Knocker at the Glengannon Hotel in Dungannon in May 31, 1998 and admitted to offences in relation to the incident.

Ms Delaney, who was 19 at the time of the murder, said she had gone from Belfast to a nightclub at the hotel in a car owned and driven by Gregory Martin Fox, who she referred to as 'Foxy', Frankie Lanigan, who she said was known as 'Studs', and another female, Cathy Keenan.

Describing it as "just a night out" with no incident taking place inside the club, she said that the defendant "didn't want to leave by the regular door" and when he got outside he was "attacked by a group of lads".

Ms Delaney said she remembered that the "door staff had locked the security grille" to the nightclub and they couldn't get back in.

She recalled that Fox had left their group and gone to get his car. "Cathy was trying to get to help Frankie but the group was pushing her away".

Ms Delaney said Lanigan "was quite badly bruised the next day".

She recalled someone shouting to "get the shooter".

"Foxy was standing with Frankie and handed him a bundle of newspapers" but she didn't know what was in the bundle, she said.

Ms Delaney said she remembered Lanigan "running away after a guy". Asked by the prosecution if he she heard anything, the witness replied: "I heard shots... from my left and behind me... I heard three shots."

The witness told the hearing that all four got into Fox's car.

She recalled that as they drove away "somebody smashed in the back window" of their car.

Ms Delaney then told the hearing: "I could see Frankie was sitting with a gun on his lap. He wasn't saying anything.

"I remember saying to myself, 'He is crazy. He is going to kill us all'. I took the gun off him and put it at my feet."

The witness recalled that they stopped on a road and the gun was hidden. She said after that they arrived at a house first on the Antrim Road in north Belfast where they stayed the night.

Ms Delaney recalled that they later went to a bed and breakfast, possibly in Carrickfergus, where a friend of Lanigan's brought them a change of clothes.

She said that the pair later moved to Dublin together for a couple of months before she went off on her own.

Asked why they moved around, Ms Delaney said it was "obviously because Frankie had murdered somebody and he needed to lie low and stay away".

Lanigan, of Delhurst Terrace, Clonsilla, Dublin 15, was extradited from the Republic last January where he had living under an assumed named for 15 years.

At hearing.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph