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Armagh man Aaron Brady shot garda Adrian Donohoe dead during raid, court told

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Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe

Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe

Murder accused Aaron Brady

Murder accused Aaron Brady

Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe

A man from Northern Ireland blasted a detective in the face with a shotgun in a robbery that was carried out in less than 60 seconds, Dublin's Central Criminal Court has heard.

Aaron Brady (28) is charged with the murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe at Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Co Louth, on January 25, 2013.

Mr Brady is also charged with the robbery of approximately €7,000 in cash and cheques from Pat Bellew. The accused, of New Road, Crossmaglen, denies both charges.

On the evening in question gardai were escorting credit union takings from four branches on the Carlingford Peninsula.

At the beginning of the escort, staff were being followed by two uniformed gardai from Omeath Garda Station because gardai from Dundalk had been delayed. One of those uniformed officers, Mr Grehan said, was the late Garda Tony Golden, who was shot dead two years later in an entirely unrelated incident.

Mr Donohoe and his colleague, Det Gda Joe Ryan, took over the escort and arrived at the Lordship Credit Union at 9.25pm. The cars were leaving the car park at 9.29pm when another vehicle blocked the exit.

Four young, athletic males wearing balaclavas hopped over a back wall of the car park, two armed with a shotgun and a handgun, the court heard.

The jury was told that Mr Donohoe, who had stepped out to see what was blocking the exit, "was blasted in the face with the shotgun. It was fired at close range, no more than the width of a car. He died instantly".

"He never, it would appear, had the opportunity to draw his weapon, it was still in his holster," prosecutor Brendan Grehan SC said.

Mr Ryan was pinned in the driver's seat with two guns pointing at his face before being threatened, the court heard.

One of the raiders smashed the window of the car and grabbed a bag, before the four men fled in a stolen Volkswagen Passat driven by a fifth raider, with Mr Grehan adding: "All that happened in 58 seconds."

He said that the accused in this case was 21 at the time, and was in the company of two friends on the day in question.

Mr Grehan said a "curious thing" happened on the evening of the murder, in that Aaron Brady's phone and those of his two friends "go off the radar" between around 8pm and 10.30pm.

"Aaron Brady left Ireland shortly after the robbery and murder as the investigation ramped up and he went to the US and settled in New York," where, Mr Grehan said, the accused believed he was "beyond the reach of the long arm of the law."

The prosecution also say Mr Brady appeared to be "under money pressure" coming into the weekend of January 25, 2013, but "he was indicating that this money pressure would be solved".

Earlier, he said it is the prosecution's case that the person who shot Mr Donohoe was Brady.

The trial continues today.

Belfast Telegraph