Stephen Carson's mum thought he was kneecapped, court told
The mother of a man killed in a gun attack in south Belfast has recalled the moment she was told her son had been shot dead.
Stephen Carson lost his life after he was shot in the downstairs bathroom of his Walmer Street home in the Ormeau area in February 2016.
Three cousins from west Belfast are currently standing trial charged with murdering the 28-year-old.
David 'Dee' James Francis Smith (35) from Monagh Drive; Michael 'Spud' Lawrence Smith (39), also from Monagh Drive; and Francis Gerard Patrick Smith (42) from Glenmurray Court have all been charged with, and deny, murdering Mr Carson.
Michael Smyth has also been charged with, and denies, possessing a firearm with intent to commit murder, while Francis Smith also denies possessing both a firearm, and ammunition, in suspicious circumstances.
The Crown say the motive for Mr Carson's death was linked to an incident in the Turf Lodge area of the city dating back to 2010, when the deceased and two other men were involved in a violent altercation during which Michael Smith was seriously wounded.
From the witness box at Belfast Crown Court, Mr Carson's mother confirmed that she believed 'the Smiths' were behind her son's death.
The Belfast woman told the court and jury that following the 2010 altercation, she left the area.
She accused members of the Smith family of intimidating her from her Turf Lodge home, and when asked what she experienced, she said: "I couldn't even go over to the shops without someone having a go."
When asked what was said, the woman replied: "Shouting after me, that my son was a scumbag. Just harassment, basically."
Mr Carson's mother also claimed that after leaving the area, she was sitting in her partner's car outside the shops in Turf Lodge when she was approached by Dee Smith. She told the court: "I wasn't long moved out. Dee Smith came right over to the car and laughed in my face.
"I said to him 'I suppose you're proud of yourself' and he said 'no, not yet. I still have to get yours and Joe'."
Asked what happened at this point, the Belfast woman said: "I was a wee bit scared. I rolled the window up and he just ran on laughing at me."
When David Smith's barrister took to his feet, he said to her "the incident at the car window didn't happen, did it?" to which she replied "it did".
The deceased's mother was quizzed about a comment she made in the hospital the night her son died.
She then recalled how she was told in a phonecall about the fatal gun attack from her son's partner.
The woman said: "She just said to me Stephen had been shot. I thought maybe he had been kneecapped because he was always in trouble.
"I said to her 'did they shoot him in the knees?' and she said 'no, they shot him in the head. He is dead'."
She agreed that at the hospital she said 'they said they would get him and they did' and confirmed that she meant the Smiths, but said she couldn't remember whether or not her son's partner heard this comment.
And when asked if she showed her son's partner an image of David Smith on Facebook before the partner gave a statement to police, the woman said "no".
Earlier, the jury heard from a senior scientific officer, who said that after conducting a series of tests, she concluded the shotgun found in Francis Smith's flat was the weapon which discharged the fatal shot.
The jury also heard that an expert defence witness will be called to give evidence at a later stage in the trial who will disagree with her findings.
The case continues.