Mother of murder victim Stephen Carson recalls phone call telling her he was dead

Police at the scene in Walmer Street after Stepehn Carson was shot in February 2016.
Police at the scene in Walmer Street after Stepehn Carson was shot in February 2016.

THE mother of a man killed in a gun attack in south Belfast yesterday recalled the moment she was told her son has been shot dead.

Stephen Carson lost his life after he was shot in the downstairs bathroom of his Walmer Street home in February 2016.

Three cousins from west Belfast are currently standing trial, charged with murdering the 28-year old.

David 'Dee' Smith (35) from Monagh Drive, 39-year old Michael 'Spud' Smith also from Monagh Drive and 42-year old Francis Smith from Glenmurray Court have all been charged with, and deny, murdering Mr Carson.

Michael Smyth has also been charged with, and denied, possessing a firearm with intent to commit murder, while Francis Smith also denies possessing both a firearm, and ammunition, in suspicious circumstances.

The Crown say the motive for Mr Carson's death was linked to a violent altercation in the Turf Lodge area of the city dating back to 2010, when the deceased and two other men were involved in a violent altercation during which Michael Smith was seriously wounded.

Mr Carson's mother was called to give evidence, and from the witness box at Belfast Crown Court, she confirmed that she believed 'the Smiths' were behind her son's death.

The Belfast woman told the court and jury that following the 2010 altercation, she left the area where she was from and where she reared her family.

She accused members of the Smith family of intimidating her from her Turf Lodge home, and when asked what she experienced, she said: "I couldn't even go over to the shops without someone having a go."

When asked what was said, the woman replied: "Shouting after me, that my son was a scumbag. Just harassment, basically."

Mr Carson's mother also claimed that after leaving the area, she was sitting in her partner's car when she was approached by Dee Smith who 'laughed in her face'.

"I said to him 'I suppose you're proud of yourself' and he said 'no, not yet. I still have to get yours and Joe.'" Asked what happened at this point, the Belfast woman said: "I was a wee bit scared. I rolled the window up and he just ran on laughing at me."

When asked about the night she was told her son died she recalled how she got a phone call from her son's partner.

The woman said: "I thought maybe he had been kneecapped because he was always in trouble. I said to her 'did they shoot him in the knees?' and she said 'no, they shot him in the head. He is dead.'

"I remember going to the hospital and seeing an ambulance coming and the paramedics working with him, and that's all I remember."

She agreed that at the hospital she said 'they said they would get him and they did' and confirmed that she meant the Smiths, but said she couldn't remember whether or not her son's partner heard this comment.

And when asked if she showed her son's partner an image of David Smith on Facebook before the woman gave a statement to police, the woman said "no."

Earlier today, the jury heard from a senior scientific officer, who said that after conducting a series of tests, she concluded the shotgun found in Francis Smith's flat was the weapon which discharged the fatal shot.

The jury also heard that an expert defence witness will be called to give evidence at a later stage in the trial who will disagree with her findings.