Family on way to see Christmas lights saw fatally shot man lying on roadside, inquest hears

The scene where Graham McNally's body was found in 2009. Picture: Colin Keegan/Collins

A family travelling to see Christmas lights came upon the body of a 35-year-old man who had been shot on the roadside.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that Graham McNally died due to gunshot wounds to the head. He was discovered lying on the roadside at 5.05pm on January 20, 2009 at Coldwinters on the old N2 in Co Dublin.

Natasha Nugent was travelling in the car with her husband and their two young daughters when she saw Mr McNally lying face up.

“I could see the man was injured; it looked like he’d been shot,” she said.

They turned the blue Missan Micra around and phoned emergency services.

“He looked like he’d fallen backwards,” she said.

The man was rushed to Connolly Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 6.05pm. A post mortem conducted by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis gave the cause of death as gunshot wounds to the head.

Detective Sergeant Gavin Ross told the inquest that Mr McNally had arrived back into the country on a flight earlier that day.

At 1.40pm on January 20 the deceased came back on a flight into Ireland with a female associate. They were collected by other associates.

Later that day, Mr McNally and two other males were stopped at a routine Garda checkpoint.

“The next contact with gardaí was Natasha Nugent’s emergency call,” Det Sgt Ross said.

Two people were charged in relation to the murder.

“A trial was set for 2017 but the Director of Public Prosecutions' decision on the matter changed; the charges were withdrawn and the trial did not take place,” Det Sgt Ross said.

The case remains open, the inquest heard.

“This was a very extensive investigation...The file remains open and any further evidence will be immediately acted upon,” Det Sgt Ross said.

The jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing by person or persons unknown.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane offered her sympathies to the man’s mother Mrs Marie McNally, who was visibly upset in court.

Another son, Alan McNally, was shot dead in a pub in Finglas in February 2012.

“We have met before in similar tragic circumstances. I offer my deepest condolences on the loss of your boys, in particular today on the loss of your son Graham,” the coroner said.

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