Woman praised for comforting Belfast murder victim

The case is being heard at Belfast Crown Court

The case is being heard at Belfast Crown Court

A woman who came to the aid of and prayed over murder victim Christopher Mackin as he lay dying on a Belfast street has been praised by a judge.

Mr Justice Treacy told the woman she was to be “congratulated” and that her actions would “come as some comfort” to the family of the 31-year-old, who was shot at least seven times outside his College Square North home, near Belfast’s city centre on March 1, 2012.

Pacemaker Press 22/5/2013  Laganside Court Building  in Belfast City centre  Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 22/5/2013 Laganside Court Building in Belfast City centre Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

The woman told Belfast Crown Court how, after putting her coat over him, she slipped her “right hand under his cheek to keep his chin off the ground”and prayed into his ear, as blood poured from his wounds.

She was giving evidence in the trial of a husband and wife and his brother who face charges arising out of the murder.

Denying murder are Charles Stephen Valliday, 45, and his 40-year-old wife Julie Ann, both now with addresses in Islay Street, Antrim. Valliday’s 51-year-old brother, James John Valliday from Springfield Meadows, Belfast, is accused with, but denies assisting offenders after the shooting.

The woman told the court of the eerie silence following the shooting, which at first she “thought it was childrens’ fireworks”. However, it was “two bursts of gunfire ... there was a lull in between”, and on looking out her window, “saw nothing ... it was eerily quiet”.

She went down to the street, where she saw neighbours, “pointing down to my right ... I saw a man on the ground lying on his right side as if he was in the recovery position,” she said.

The woman said as she asked him for his name, “his eye-lids were very heavy, he was blinking very fast, then very slowly”. She continued to ask for his name, and the man, “as if angry”, shouted out ‘Christopher Mackin’. As she did this, a woman was behind him, rubbing his back, but he told her to stop, because it was hurting him.

This woman then told her that the man was “losing lots of blood” and to “say an act of contrition”, which she did, along with other prayers.

In conclusion the woman told the court that while in the past the man had spoken to her sometimes at lunchtimes, she did not know him personally.

In addition to the murder charge, Valliday and his wife, formally of Powerscourt Place, Belfast, also deny possessing a Smith and Wesson revolver and ammunition and a £70,000 haul of cocaine and heroin later found hidden in an Audi A4 car, said to belong to Mrs Valliday. Her husband’s DNA was later found on the revolver and on bags containing the class A drugs.

The trial, expected to last up to six weeks, continues.