Northern Ireland news

Man shot dead while hiding behind bathroom door, court told

Stephen Carson was shot dead in south Belfast in 2016

A MAN murdered in a house in the Ormeau area of Belfast sustained a fatal shotgun wound to his head while crouched behind a bathroom door, a jury has heard.

As the Crown case against three cousins from west Belfast opened in Belfast Crown Court, a prosecuting barrister said the motive could be linked to 2010 when one of the accused was seriously injured in an attack.

Stephen Carson (29) was shot at a house in the Walmer Street area in February 2016. Also present during the attack was his partner and nine-year old son.

David James Francis Smith (35) from Monagh Drive, 39-year old Michael Lawrence Smith from Monagh Drive and 42-year old Francis Gerard Patrick Smith from Glenmurray Court - all deny murder.

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

It is the Crown's case that at the time of his death, Mr Carson believed he was under threat, which caused him to move from west Belfast to the Ormeau area. He was suspected of involvement in a 2010 attack which the Crown say was the motive for the murder.

David Smith was arrested on February 26. Police arrived at Francis Smith's flat in west Belfast on February 27, and both he and his cousin Michael were arrested. The property was searched and a holdall containing shotgun cartridges was located along with a sawn-off shotgun found in a rucksack.

The court was told a forensic expert concluded the gun found in the wardrobe was the same weapon used to kill Mr Carson.

Mr Carson's partner attended an identification procedure and picked both Michael and David Smith out.

The jury was told all three men were "present and involved in the attack on Mr Carson and that each is guilty".

At hearing.

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