A recording of the last phonecall made by a Belfast man before he was shot in the head has been played to a jury.
Stephen Carson made a 999 call from the downstairs bathroom of his house in Walmer Street on the evening of February 25, 2016.
In the call to the police, the 29-year-old can be heard saying: ‘Hurry up please, there are two people in my house trying to get me. Quick quick, hurry up.’ There is then silence from Mr Carson.
As the deceased’s last words were played to the jury at Belfast Crown Court, a disturbance broke out in the public gallery between Mr Carson’s family, and the family of three cousins charged with his murder.
The three accused – David James Francis Smith, 35, from Monagh Drive, 39-year-old Michael Lawrence Smith also from Monagh Drive and 42-year-old Francis Gerard Patrick Smith from Glenmurray Court – have all denied murder.
Michael Smyth has also been charged with, and denies, possessing a firearm with intent to commit murder, while Francis Smith also denies possessing both a firearm, and ammunition, in suspicious circumstances.
The disturbance in the public gallery prompted Judge Geoffrey Miller QC to send the jury for an early lunch. When they returned to court, the jury members were told by the trial judge to “disregard the impact of that outburst”.
Judge Miller said there was “no doubt” Mr Carson was unlawfully killed, and there was “no doubt” that his loved ones have been left distressed by his death.
The judge also told the jury that hearing Mr Carson’s last words provoked “an emotional reaction”, adding: “What you have to decide in this case is whether or not the prosecution can establish if any or all of the defendants in the dock are guilty of the charges they face.
“A human emotional reaction from close family members is not evidence in this case and is not a matter which should influence you in any way, shape or form.”
Several police officers and paramedics who attended Walmer Street in the direct aftermath of the fatal shooting were called to give evidence.