Northern Ireland

George Gilmore murder: Accused was 'holding gun'

George Gilmore
Image caption Loyalist George Gilmore was shot dead in March 2017

One of three men accused of murdering a prominent loyalist was holding a gun in his hand seconds before the shooting, a court has heard.

The claim was made at Belfast Crown Court during a trial over the murder of George Gilmore, 44, in County Antrim.

He died from a "catastrophic brain injury as a result of a bullet wound" after being shot in his car last year.

A passenger in the car driven by the victim told the court that he saw one of the accused holding a weapon.

Mr Gilmore died in hospital the day after the attack in Carrickfergus on 13 March 2017.

Three men have been charged with murdering him and attempting to murder his two passengers.

They are David McMaw, 30, from Starbog Road in Larne, County Antrim; his brother Darren McMaw, 33, from Kilgreel Road in Carrickfergus; and 36-year-old Brian McClean, from Valetta Park in Newtownards, County Down.

They deny the charges against them.

'Scouting exercise'

Opening the case against them at their non-jury Diplock hearing, a prosecution barrister said that David McMaw was the gunman while Brian McClean acted as a lookout at the scene of the shooting.

He also alleged that Darren McMaw was involved in a "scouting exercise" by following Mr Gilmore in his van before the attack.

Mr Gilmore's son, who heard the fatal shots, said he saw David McMaw and Brian McClean in the area immediately before the attack.

Mr Gilmore left Belfast's Laganside Courts at about 12:30 GMT on the day of his death - he had been there to support a man who was charged with attempted murder - and drove back to Carrickfergus, followed by his son in another car.

The court heard that, about 50 minutes later, a tracker fitted to a work van that was driven by Darren McMaw indicated that the vehicle was parked in an area in which he had a clear view of Mr Gilmore's home.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The shooting happened in the Sunnylands area of Carrickfergus in March last year

At 13:41 GMT, Mr Gilmore parked his car in Carrickfergus and went to a bakery, where he stayed for about 20 minutes.

The court heard that several phone calls "relaying information" about Mr Gilmore were made, including a 50-second call that was received by Darren McMaw, prompting him to go to the centre of the town.

Mr Gilmore then drove to Pinewood Avenue - his son, who was travelling behind him, said he saw David McMaw and Brian McClean at the junction of Cherry Walk.

He said he stopped his car and saw David McMaw in an alleyway, trying to put something on his face.

'Gun, gun, gun'

As he made his way to Pinewood Avenue, Mr Gilmore's son heard shots being fired.

Mr Gilmore's front-seat passenger also said he saw David McMaw and Brian McClean at the scene.

He claimed that he witnessed David McMaw crouched down in an alleyway, with a gun in his hand and pulling a balaclava over his face.

The murdered man's other passenger said he saw an armed man and shouted: "Gun, gun, gun."

He said Mr Gilmore tried to speed up but the car hit a wall after shots were fired.

The barrister told the court that in the aftermath of the murder, David McMaw and Brian McClean "disappeared" until 16 March last year.

Darren McMaw, who the prosecution said "involved himself in the prelude and the aftermath of the murder", said he was aware of a feud but denied involvement in it.

He alleged that he had been targeted by the Gilmores but denied he was involved in murder.

Citing a "strong case of joint enterprise", the barrister told the judge that the court would hear evidence that will point to an "overwhelming inference" that all three were "inextricably involved in the plan to murder George Gilmore".

Related Topics

More on this story