04 Jul 2022

Derry man denies attempted murder of 'love rival'

Shotgun fired during incident in Waterside area of city - trial jury told

Derry man denies attempted murder of 'love rival'

PSNI officers examining the scene of the shooting in the Sevenoaks area of the Waterside.

The trial of a Derry man accused of attempting to murder a 'love rival' resumes at the city's Crown Court today.

Robert Gillespie (53) of Tamneymore Park in the Waterside area of the city, denies attempting to murder Warren Roberts on July 24 2018. He is also pleading not guilty to possessing a shotgun on the same date.

On Friday, Gillespie told the court, sitting in Coleraine, about two incidents in June and July 2018 when a car was burnt out and a shotgun fired at Warren Roberts car.

He ageeed with his counsel,Kieran Mallon QC, that for eight years he had been living 'a double life' while conducting an affair with the woman behind his wife's back.

Gillespie told the jury he left his wife but then went back to the family home one day later. The jury heard that when he became aware the woman had begun a new relationship he asked himself 'how could I break these two up?'

Gillespie admitted going to the woman's house in June and setting fire to Warren Roberts car and leaving drug paraphernalia beside it.

He admitted he wanted the woman to question 'what kind of man am I going out with?'

Gillespie said he wanted to paint the alleged victim 'in a bad light that he was involved in drugs.'

Gillespie told the jury that on July 24 2018 he again wanted to try and scare Mr Roberts.

He said he had obtained a sawn off shotgun from a person he knew and on the morning in question he collided with the alleged injured party's car.

He said following the collision he was in 'a blind panic' that Mr Roberts would approach him so he said he raised the shotgun and fired it at the car.

Mr Mallon asked Gillespie what was his intention when he fired at the car and the  defendant said 'my intention was to scare him, to frighten him.'

Gillespie denied firing at the front of the vehicle or trying to approach it and said he fired at the back end of the car.

He said he 'totally accepted' he had discharged the shotgun but said his intention was to make the woman 'have second thoughts.'

The jury heard that after Mr Roberts drove away,Gillespie fired the shotgun again but said it was only to get him to stop so he could pass him and get away.

Gillespie said if he could apologise to everyone involved in this incident he would.

Mr Mallon put it to Gillespie that he had told the police 'multiple lies' and had lied 'repeatedly' and the defendant agreed.

Gillespie told the jury he was 'jealous' and repeated 'at no stage did I want to harm him My sole intention was to scare him.'

Earlier, Mr Roberts gave evidence of the shooting, stating when it happened he felt 'absolute fear.'

He told the jury that he left his work at 7.00am on the date in question and drove to the Sevenoaks area of the Waterside.

He said he noticed a car pulling out slowly in front of him and thought to himself 'is this guy even awake does he not see me?'

Mr Roberts said he 'veered' to the right to try and avoid a collision but the other car drove into him.

He said he was about to give the other driver 'a few choice words' when he noticed the man was masked and carrying what appeared to be a sawn-off shotgun.

Mr Roberts said the other driver was getting out of the car with the gun in his hand and was aiming it in his general direction. 
He said he wondered 'what the hell is going on?' before driving off to get away.

As he drove away he said he heard a shot from no more than 60 feet away.

Mr Roberts told the jury he was followed by other car and he could see in his rear view mirror the driver putting the gun out the window and that he 'heard a bang,' before driving to the PSNI station.

When asked by Mr Mallon if he was aware of the previous relationship between Gillespie and the woman, he said he wasn't.

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