Northern Ireland

Stephen Carson murder: Child cried when he found his dad

Walmer Street
Image caption The shooting took place at Walmer Street in south Belfast in February 2016

A schoolboy told police that he "started to cry'' when he found his father lying on his back seconds after being shot dead in their home.

Stephen Carson, 28, was killed in his house in Walmer Street, Belfast, in February 2016.

His nine-year-old son was there during the attack.

The child's video interview with detectives was played to the Belfast Crown Court trial of three men accused of killing his father.

David James Francis Smith, 35, and Michael Lawrence Smith, 39, both of Monagh Drive, and Francis Gerard Patrick Smith, 42, of Glenmurray Court, all in west Belfast, deny murdering Mr Carson.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Stephen Carson was 28 when he was murdered

Francis Smith further denies possession of a firearm and ammunition in suspicious circumstances while Michael Smith has pleaded not guilty to carrying a firearm with intent to commit murder.

Mr Carson was shot with a shotgun as he hid in the bathroom of his south Belfast home.

His son told police that on the day of the murder, he and his dad's fiancée had been out shopping for clothes and that she had bought him a game.

He said that he was sitting in the living room with her when his dad came home: "I was playing with my game when my daddy came home. He bought me two Easter eggs, two Square bars, a bottle of water and two Kinder eggs.

"My daddy went into the bathroom. I heard people banging on the door. Then they came in and the man with the gun pointed it at us and told us to 'sit down and don't move,'" the the child said.

'Sprayed us with pepper spray'

The young boy added that three men came into the house while a fourth, who he said had dark hair, "was outside looking".

He told detectives that one of the men "sprayed us with pepper spray". He said Mr Carson's fiancée "couldn't see and I got some in my throat".

The schoolboy described the gunman as a "bit taller'' than the other two men,

He said the gunman's mouth and nose were covered and he was wearing a dark green rain coat and boots. He said one of the others was armed with a hammer which had a "red handle''.

The jury heard the boy, now aged 11, told detectives the gunman was shouting about "the wee tout'' as he stood in the living room.

He told detectives the gunman then went to the bathroom and "shot my daddy''.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Forensic teams at the scene of the shooting

He said after the shooting, the gunman shouted: "Come on quick, get into the car, the cops are coming'' and the three men left the house.

Asked to describe the firearm, the boy said it was a "shotgun with two circles at the top''.

'My daddy was lying on his back'

During his 50-minute interview, the boy said that after the shooting he went to the bathroom.

"The door was open a wee bit. I was trying to push the door but I couldn't get in. I saw my daddy and started to cry," he said.

"We had a dog box in the bathroom and he was lying on the dog box... my daddy was lying on his back on the dog box.

"I saw a lot of blood and his eyes were open. He was lying there with his hand on his chest.''

He added that his father's fiancée then came to the bathroom, saw Mr Carson and also started crying

The trial continues.

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