A SENIOR judge has reserved judgement in the case of Kieran McLaughlin who has been on trial for the murder of Barry McCrory.
At the end of both the prosecution and defence cases today, trial judge Mr Justice Mark Horner QC said he would give his judgement as soon as possible.
If found guilty, McLaughlin will face an automatic life sentence for the murder before the judge decides on how long he will serve.
Legal sources say that if found guilty, McLaughlin is facing a sentencing range of between 15 years to 25 years behind bars without parole.
Last week the judge watched the moment a hitman calmly walk into a Derry flat complex to carrying out a brutal “execution”.
This week he watched the final moments of Mr McCrory captured on CCTV returning to his flat with his girlfriend of five weeks Elizabeth Timoney.
Barry McCrory never stood a chance, said prosecutors, as it alleges 60-year-old McLaughlin donned beany hat, gloves and ‘goggles’ to disguise his appearance for the “execution”.
And on Thursday, October 10, 2013, a camera in Shipquay Street picked up his stocky frame walking up Shipquay Street around 10.30 am carrying a blue ruck sack on his back.
As the footage was played, McLaughlin sat in the dock between two prison officers, dressed in blue jeans and a tight-fitting grey T-shirt with his eyes either closed or staring at the floor.
Then McLaughlin is alleged to have paused outside No 4, pressing the buzzer to flat Number 7 and patiently waiting for an answer.
Mr McCrory was lying in bed with his partner when the buzzer to their flat jumped into life.
She got up and pressed it, not knowing that she had just let in the man who was going to kill her lover in a brutal and cold-blooded fashion.
Inside the flat complex, the male figures is seen going up and down several flights of stairs as he went in search of flat No 7.
Eventually he finds it on the third floor. Standing outside, the man pauses to take off his ruck sack and puts on a pair of black gloves before rapping repeatedly on the door.
A camera above the flat door showed the flat door opening, and the lone figure walking inside.
Then less than a minute later, he calmly walks out of the flat and down several flights of stairs and back into Shipquay Street to catch City Cab taxi to take him to St Joseph’s Church in Galliagh.
The 999 alarm was soon raised and police swamped the busy Shipquay Street and launched a hunt for a suspect – named by the PSNI to the media at the time as Kieran McLaughlin, a known dissident republican terrorist.
An examination of the scene revealed that Mr McCrory had been blasted four times with a 12 bore, double barrelled, side by side double triggered sawn-off shotugn from as little as three feet away.
Two rounds pierced the back of his head causing massive damage to the brain and skull. Such was the damage a pathologist said his fatality would have been caused rapidly.
His crime, alleged the killer, was that he was a drug dealer.
A hunt for McLaughlin was launched his picture was released but he could not be found.
At one point the suspect had crossed the border into Donegal and the Gardai were involved in trying to track him and arrest him for murder.
But McLaughlin had evaded capture and crossed the border back into Derry having equipped himself with two cars – a stolen Honda Civic and a Volkswagen Passat.
A week later, the hunt intensified when he was tracked down to his old stomping ground of Galliagh.
Heat seeking cameras on an aerial police surveillance craft directed officers on the ground to a parked car after a large heat glow showed up on its equipment of a person under the vehicle.
After a brief stand off, McLaughlin finally gave himself up and a shotgun, a pistol, shotgun cartridges and ammunition were recovered.
McLaughlin denies murdering Mr McCrory and possession guns and ammunition with intent to supply.
However, he earlier pleaded guilty to possession guns and ammunition in suspicious circumstances.
The prosecution contend their is an overwhelming circumstantial case against McLaughlin.