The mother of Dublin gangland murder victim Eric Fowler screamed: “My son is dead” after finding him fatally wounded in her Coolmine driveway, the inquest heard

Mr Fowler, 34, a father of two, died after being ambushed and shot several times by one or more armed men

An inquest into the death of Eric Fowler heard that Therese Esmonde responded to the news that her son had been killed by screaming: “My son is dead. My baby.”

Mr Fowler (34), a father of two, died after he was ambushed by one or more gunmen who shot him several times, including once in the head, as he returned to his family home in Blakestown Cottages got out of his car. Coolmine on December 22, 2018.

A car believed to have been used as a getaway vehicle by his killers was found burnt out near Rusheeney Green in Clonsilla.

Ms Esmonde told a sitting of the Dublin District Coroner’s Court on Tuesday that she was in her home with her ex-husband Stephen Fowler at around 6.50pm on December 22, 2018, when she heard “five bangs”.

She said her first reaction was that she thought the noise was caused by fireworks.

Ms Esmonde recalled her ex-husband telling her to stay in the house while he went to check on the noise.

She said she was in shock and “couldn’t think clearly” when he returned and told her her son had been shot and she needed to call an ambulance.

“My hand was shaking and I was screaming on the phone,” Ms. Esmonde said.

She described holding her son and thinking she could feel his heartbeat before realizing it was her own.

“His face looked so beautiful and I told him I loved him,” she added.

She recalled that it was “the scariest feeling ever” when she looked into his face as he lay dead on the ground.

Ms Esmonde said she could not take her eyes off a bullet casing lying near his body.

She remembered trying to call people about the shooting and barely being able to explain what happened.

Ms Esmonde told the inquest that Eric, who ran a car washing and cleaning business from a yard adjacent to her home, had stopped by her home earlier that day to take his sister Trudie home.

She said he was “at his best, but in great shape.”

Ms Esmonde also gave evidence to gardaí at the Dublin City Mortuary in Whitehall that she had officially identified her son’s body.

Mr Fowler’s girlfriend, Laura Hegney, told coroner Aisling Gannon that he never said anything to her about feeling pressure and that he never argued with anyone.

“His biggest concern was money – paying bills and washing his car. He found it difficult to juggle a mortgage and bills,” she added.

“I don’t know any reason why that would have happened,” Ms. Hegney noted.

She described how they had been in a relationship for about two years and “when we were good, we were great.”

Ms Hegney said Mr Fowler suffered from anxiety and panic attacks and could be paranoid after taking cocaine.

However, she believed he was taking drugs “to escape his own demons.”

She remembered her boyfriend as a man who loved taking family trips with his children.

The inquest heard he had surprised Ms Hegney with a gift of a holiday to Las Vegas and a bottle of Moët champagne for her birthday just days before his murder.

Ms Hegney told the hearing shortly before his murder that she had dropped him off outside his workplace after they returned from dinner at a restaurant in Blanchardstown.

She remembered him hugging and kissing her as they made plans to meet again later that evening.

The inquest heard that Mr Fowler’s father refused to leave the scene at the direction of gardaí and was uncooperative.

However, after being approached by a senior officer, he eventually moved behind an external barrier.

A paramedic who attended the scene, David Hogan, said Mr Fowler suffered injuries incompatible with life and the inquest heard he was pronounced dead at 7.05pm.

Detective Sergeant Damien Mangan told the coroner that Ms Hegney’s vehicle was also seized to check whether it was fitted with a hidden tracking device, while CCTV footage was recovered from a GAA club located opposite the crime scene Shooting took place.

Despite a full and extensive investigation, Detective Inspector Liam Donoghue said there were no prosecutions pending against anyone in connection with Mr Fowler’s death.

The state’s chief pathologist, Linda Mulligan, told the inquest that a post-mortem examination of Mr Fowler’s body showed he had been struck by four, possibly five, bullets.

Dr. Mulligan explained that the uncertainty about the number of bullets was due to the fact that a bullet may have exited the deceased’s body and re-entered him through his neck.

She said a bullet to his head caused bleeding in the brainstem area, while he suffered three gunshot wounds to the chest, which resulted in rib and vertebral fractures and significant blood loss.

Dr. Mulligan said each gunshot wound on its own could be fatal.

The autopsy also revealed some evidence of recent cocaine use and a small, possibly malignant tumor in his adrenal gland.

The pathologist said Mr Fowler died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds to the head and back, with no other contributing factors.

A jury of five women and four men found him guilty of unlawful killing by unknown persons.

The coroner expressed her condolences to Mr Fowler’s mother and girlfriend and also thanked gardaí for their work and dedication to the investigation into his death.

Mr Fowler is believed to be the 18th victim of the bloody feud between rival crime gangs Kinahan and Hutch.

Although he had links to the Kinahan cartel, the deceased also had family connections that linked him to both sides of the deadly feud that began with the murder of Gary Hutch in Spain in 2015.

The business owner was investigated for his alleged involvement in organized crime before his death, but was never charged with a serious crime.

Mr Fowler had also been warned by gardaí on at least two occasions that his life was in danger.

In 2021, Mr Fowler’s father Stephen was sentenced to five and a half years in prison for his role in the Kinahan cartel’s attempted murder of James “Mago” Gately, a rival Hutch gang member.

Fowler, 63, was found guilty by the non-judicial Special Criminal Court after pleading guilty to a single count of having knowledge of a criminal organization and its ability to murder Gately on dates between December 7, 2016 and April 4 to improve in 2017.

The court heard that Fowler picked up an Estonian assassin, Imre Arakas, who was brought to Ireland to murder Gately, from a hotel in Dublin city center and took him to his home in Blakestown Cottages, where both men were arrested. The mother of Dublin gangland murder victim Eric Fowler screamed: “My son is dead” after finding him fatally wounded in her Coolmine driveway, the inquest heard

Hung is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button