STUNNING video footage of an innocent bread delivery boy shot inside a Topaz grading station in Limerick 11 years ago was shown at the High Court this week in an injury case personal injury brought by a former Topaz staff member against his employer.
Theresa Quinn, 35, formerly of Killeely, Limerick, filed a lawsuit against Topaz Energy Group Ltd, alleging psychological injuries resulting from trauma she suffered after seeing the shooter enter the premises and take a gun from the hand before shooting the victim. four times.
John Coughlan, (33), of Pineview Gardens, Moyross, Limerick, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of the father of two Daniel Treacy, (35), at Topaz Garage, Caherdavin, Limerick, on 22 February 2010.
Ms Quinn poignantly testified that she saw Coughlan pull a gun out of a shopping bag before shooting Mr Treacy in the head and body.
The complainant, who worked behind the establishment’s deli counter, said she heard a gunshot and dropped to the ground before crawling into a storage room and using her cell phone to call for help. emergency.
She said Topaz did not provide her with a personal panic button alarm used by other staff members and that the 911 dispatcher that day kept calling her back for more details. She said she kept “trying to mute the phone or hang up so as not to alert (Coughlan) of where I was.”
Ms Quinn said she spoke casually to Mr Treacy, who regularly bought a cup of coffee on site on his bread delivery rounds, seconds before Coughlan walked in and fired four shots at him .
She said she saw Coughlan pick up what she believed to be bullet casings from the ground – a witness for Garda later told court Coughlan appeared inexperienced with a gun and he also emptied live ammunition on the ground every time he had shot Mr. Treacy.
Gardaí said they believed the murder was revenge for another murder in Limerick, but Mr Treacy had no involvement in it.
Ms Quinn said she was “terrified” as she waited on the store floor for the gunmen to leave.
She told the court: “I thought this is it, I’m going to die, he’s going to come here and kill me. “
The complainant’s witness, Dr Patrick Doyle, a four-year retired consultant psychiatrist who subsequently assessed and treated Ms Quinn, testified that he diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, agoraphobia and insomnia.
He said Ms Quinn complained that she suffered flashbacks and nightmares from the murder and prescribed anti-depressant mediation.
Dr Doyle said he disagreed with the findings of a report by another doctor who subsequently assessed Ms Quinn which concluded that the complainant was unlikely to suffer any effects long-term psychological.
Dr Doyle said Ms Quinn was still suffering from psychological damage eleven years after the murder.
Ms Quinn’s legal team, led by senior lawyer Michael Collins, argued that her “terror had continued” in her efforts to sound the alarm with her personal cell phone because a panic button “had not been provided to him”.
Dr Doyle supported this claim, stating that in his opinion Ms Quinn would have suffered ‘additional trauma’ as she perhaps felt ‘uncertain’ that gardaí would come and help her when she continued to receive calls from the 911.
Ms Quinn said she believed Gardaí would have been alerted immediately if she could have pressed any of Topaz’s panic buttons – but said she was learning in court for the first time that it wasn’t the case, because the panic alarms were monitored by a private company who would then have to contact gardaí in case of emergency at the premises in question.
Gardaí arrived very quickly, we heard, in response to a phone call from a passer-by who heard gunshots coming from the locals.
Ms Quinn agreed with Andrew Walker, the accused’s lead lawyer, that Topaz had provided her and other staff with psychological counseling, had spoken to her regularly, had put her on leave paid a month and had paid another staff member to return home. his home country abroad after the murder.
Mr Walker argued that the murder was “totally unpredictable” and that Ms Quinn would not have been spared the trauma of having witnessed what she did that day.
Ms. Quinn returned to work for Topaz at another location several months after the murder; Topaz gas stations have since been taken over by Circle K.
The case continues.