12 December, 2011

"Please don't kill me," - the last words of Armagh GAA star James Hughes:

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James Hughes being removed from murder scene
           James Hughes was hit by two blasts from a double-barrelled shotgun as he was dropping a female friend home after a night out.  The shooter was apparently an ex-boyfriend of the woman who had accompanied Hughes (aged 35) that night. 
            He was lying in wait as the couple arrived in a taxi outside Patricia Byrne's (21) home in the quiet Cluain Ard, Lis na Mara housing estate, in Dundalk, Co Louth, shortly before 4a.m. 
            Mr. Hughes was in the front passenger with Ms. Byrne sitting between him and the taxi driver.  A lone gunman approached the Fiat car and fired one shot into it.  The taxi driver fled the scene before the car crashed into a nearby house.
GAA star Hughes: shot dead last night
           The assailant chased after the car before blasting a further two shots into Mr. Hughes' chest and neck.  The perpetrator then made his escape in a van.
           Mr. Hughes died at the scene.  Ms. Byrne received neck and facial wounds, while the taxi driver, a Mr. Callnan was struck in the face, neck and upper body. They were treated at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and are expected to be released within a few days.
           Last night, a 32 year-old man from Inniskeen, Co. Monaghan was arrested and being questioned by gardaí in connection with the murder.  Gardaí took possession of a legally held shotgun, which they believed was the murder weapon, and it was taken away for ballistic examination.  Later a van, believed to have been used for the getaway was also found.
The taxi on the street where gun attack happened
            Mr. Hughes, who has three children aged 7, 11 and 14 years from a previous relationship, was captain of the Crossmaglen Rangers GAA club in south Armagh and won three All-Ireland club titles with them.  His family are from Crossmaglen but he had been living in nearby Keady. 
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