Leah Farrell/Rollingnews
Dublin Coroner's Court

Murdered mechanic was subject to threats for several years before he was shot dead in his home, inquest hears

Liam Murray was last seen alive on St Patrick’s Day in 2009 but his body was not discovered until three days later.

A DUBLIN MECHANIC who was shot dead in his home in Rathfarnham in 2009 had been subjected to ongoing threats and intimidation in the years before his death, an inquest has heard.

Fiona Murray told Dublin Coroner’s Court today that she had received a call from a known individual on 20 March 2006 which she had recorded threatening to kill her brother a few days before he had received a similar threat himself.

Liam Murray, (42) a single man with no children who came originally from Templeogue, was shot dead in his home at Rockbrook Cottages, Cruagh Road, Rathfarnham in March 2009.

He was last seen alive on St Patrick’s Day in 2009 but his body was not discovered until three days later.

Although two men were arrested in 2011 as part of the subsequent Garda investigation, the DPP directed there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone in relation to his death.

Ms Murray told the inquest that she and her brother reported the calls to gardaí and he had been advised to take precautions with his personal security.

Over the following seven months, she said her brother was involved in a number of altercations with a particular individual which culminated in an attempt on his life when shots were fired into his bedroom on 11 November 2006 while he was sleeping.

She knew the threats against her brother continued at least until May 2007 but she had assumed “naively” that the garda investigation into the matter was progressing.

Ms Murray said she understood the individual making the threatening calls had “placated” a garda when they met in the Spawell car park in Templeogue in February 2007.

The inquest heard that Mr Murray had been drinking with friends in the Headline bar at Leonard’s Corner on St Patrick’s Day in 2009 before driving home in the early evening.

Martin Harmon, a close friend of the deceased, gave evidence of witnessing an altercation between Mr Murray and another man in the same pub two weeks before his death

Harmon said his friend, whom he called “Blackie”, had hit the other man on the nose before leaving the pub.

He said the other individual called Mr Murray a “bastard” and said he would get him killed by either his brother or friends.

The other person also claimed he had saved Mr Murray from being killed a couple of weeks earlier, said Harmon.

Questioned by Breffni Gordon BL for the Murray family, Harmon said he had regarded this individual as a spoofer and not capable of carrying out his threat.

Harmon said he didn’t think his friend had many enemies although he was aware he was in dispute with someone for around five years.

‘Annoyed so many people’

Another friend, Gerry Kavanagh, said he believed Mr Murray started experiencing troubles after he had bought a property in Dundrum in 2004.

Kavanagh said his friend didn’t say much about any threats but had believed the shooting at his home in 2016 was linked to the Dundrum property.

He also told the inquest that a dog owned by Murray was found with its throat slit in 2006 after going missing, while another dog he subsequently got also disappeared.

Kavanagh recalled being told about another incident where Mr Murray had given chase to someone who had made a threatening gesture at him from a passing car in Templeogue and “hit him a few punches” after catching him.

He described his late friend as a wealthy man who didn’t flaunt his money but also the “most impatient person” he knew who could be quite “abrupt and hot-tempered”

When he heard of Mr Murray’s death, Kavanagh said he immediately thought he had been murdered as he had “annoyed so many people” and had easily started confrontations with strangers.

Another friend, Patrick Hollingsworth, who discovered Mr Murray’s body, said he had decided to call to the house at Rockbrook Cottages on the morning of 20 March 2009 after he had been phoned by Fiona Murray who was concerned at being unable to contact her brother.

Hollingsworth, who was involved in business with the deceased, said he found the back door open before entering the house and finding blood splattered on his friend’s bed. When he pulled back a duvet, he saw Mr Murray with a gunshot wound over his right eye.

The witness said he saw no signs of a struggle in the house.

The inquest had been delayed for a number of years after Mr Murray’s family took legal action against the former Dublin city coroner, Dr Brian Farrell over his refusal to provide them with the garda file on his murder.

It was originally scheduled to take place in September 2015 after a preliminary hearing was held in September 2009.

In October 2018 the High Court refused an application by Mr Murray’s family for access to the file claiming there was no basis to do so.

The inquest also heard evidence from two neighbours of Mr Murray claiming they heard possible gunshots in the area on St Patrick’s night in 2009, which they originally had thought were fireworks.

The hearing will resume tomorrow before a jury of seven men and three women.

Seán McCárthaigh