Belfast Telegraph

Passenger saw accused with gun seconds before Geordie Gilmore murder, court hears

By Ashleigh McDonald

A passenger in a car driven by Geordie Gilmore claimed he saw one of three men accused of murder with a gun in his hand just seconds before a fatal shot was fired, a court heard on Thursday.

Mr Gilmore died from a "catastrophic brain injury as a result of a bullet wound" after he was targeted in the Sunnylands area of Carrickfergus last March.

Three men have been charged with murdering the 44-year old and attempting to murder his two passengers on March 13, 2017.

The trio are David 'Dee Dee' McMaw (30) from Starbog Road in Larne, his brother Darren McMaw (33) from Kilgreel Road in Carrick and 36-year old Brian McClean, from Valetta Park in Newtownards.

All three men have denied the charges levelled against them - which also includes a firearms offence - and are currently standing trial in a non-jury hearing at Belfast Crown Court.

Opening the case against the trio, Crown counsel Liam McCollum QC said it was the prosecution's case that David McMaw and Brian McClean were present at the murder scene, that the gunman was David McMaw while McClean acted as a look-out, and that Darren McMaw involved himself in a "scouting exercise" by following Mr Gilmore in his van prior to the fatal gun attack.

Mr McCollum told Diplock judge Mr Justice McAlinden that at 2.15pm on March 13 last year, a 999 call was made by George Gilmore's son, saying his father had been shot in a car at Pinewood Avenue.

Mr Gilmore was bought to hospital and was pronounced dead at 12.05am on March 14. His son - who heard the fatal shots - said he saw both David McMaw and McClean in the areas immediately before the gun attack.

Providing the court with an outline of the lead-up to the shooting, Mr McCollum said the fatal incident occurred after Mr Gilmore attended Belfast Magistrate's Court to support an associate charged with attempted murder.

Mr Gilmore left the Laganside Court Complex at around 12.30pm and drove back to Carrick in his white Vauxhall Insignia with two passengers on board, followed by his son who was driving a Red BMW.

At around 1.20pm, a work van driven by Darren McMaw, which had a tracker installed, indicated the vehicle travelled along the Marshallstown Road in Carrick then stopped and was parked in an area where the prosecution say he had a clear view of Mr Gilmore's home.

This, the Crown say, is "clear evidence Darren McMaw was going to see whether Mr Gilmore was at home, in a scouting exercise" while his brother and McClean were "anxiously awaiting the return of the Gilmore party from court."

Meanwhile, at 1.41pm, Mr Gilmore parked his car in the centre of Carrick then went to a bakery on North Street, where they stayed until just after 2pm.

As the Gilmore party walked back to their cars, they were seen crossing the road by a man, who in turn contacted another man in a phonecall lasting 99 seconds. This, the Crown say, was "information being passed about the whereabouts of the Gilmore party."

Several other phonecalls "relaying information" about Mr Gilmore were made, including a 50-second call received by Darren McMaw which prompted him to make his way to the centre of town.

It's the Crown's belief that as the Gilmore party were making their way to Sunnylands, they were then followed by Darren McMaw. Mr McCollum said: "The prosecution say that when the Gilmore party were travelling towards the Sunnyland estate, Darren McMaw's vehicle was close enough to see where they were going.

"This explains why, at 14.06, he called David McMaw at the murder scene. This call lasted 30 seconds, which we say is sufficient time to tell his brother the Gilmores were on the move and he was tracking them."

After entering Sunnylands, Mr Gilmore drove to Pinewood Avenue. His son, who was travelling behind, saw McClean and David McMaw at the junction of Cherry Walk. The deceased's son stopped his car and saw McMaw halfway down an alleyway, trying to put something on his face.

As he made his way to Pinewood Avenue, Mr Gilmore's son heard several shots being fired. When he arrived at the scene seconds later, he saw his father's car rolling slowly towards a house before crashing into a wall.

Mr Gilmore's front seat passenger also said he saw McClean and David McMaw at the scene, and said he witnessed McMaw crouch down in an alleyway with a gun in his hand pulling a balaclava over his face.

The murdered man's other passenger saw an armed man and shouted 'gun, gun, gun'. He said Mr Gilmore tried to speed up but after shots were fired, the car collided with a wall.

Mr McCollum told the court that in the aftermath of the murder, both David McMaw and McClean "disappeared until March 16th."

All three men were subsequently arrested, and denied any involvement in the murder of George Gilmore.

David McMaw refused to answer police questions, including his knowledge of the Gilmores, his association with McClean and his movements on the day in question. McClean also refused to speak to police, and didn't answer questions about UDA involvement.

Darren McMaw - who the Crown say "involved himself in the prelude and the aftermath of the murder” - said he was aware of a feud but denied involvement. He alleged he had been previously targeted by the Gilmores but denied he was involved in murder.

Citing a "strong case of joint enterprise", Mr McCollum told Mr Justice McAlinden that during the course of the trial he would hear evidence which will point to an "overwhelming inference" that all three were "inextricably involved in the plan to murder George Gilmore."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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