Bar shooter in Benalmadena sentenced for murder

DARREN O’FLAHERTY: Has been ordered to stand trial.

A BRITON accused of shooting dead an Irishman outside a Benalmadena bar faces a 44-year jail sentence.

Darren O’Flaherty, from Liverpool, has been ordered to stand trial over the murder of Dublin father-of-two, John O’Neil, in the summer of 2010. 

A criminal with a violent record, he was arrested in North Wales in 2013 after three years on the run from Spanish police. After serving 30 months in a British prison for an armed hijacking he was extradited to Malaga in 2015. 

John ‘Jock’ O’Neil was on holiday with his partner and two young children, attending a friend’s wedding when he was killed. The popular 41-year-old was targeted after trying to defuse a row that began in a toilet cubicle between two strangers. 

One of them, alleged to be Mr O’Flaherty, stormed out of the packed bar on July 28. He returned a short time later with a .38 revolver, firing five shots at Mr O’Neil and more into the crowd. 

The plasterer, who was staying at a nearby Torremolinos hotel, was hit in the back and stomach. 

Spanish investigators quickly identified O’Flaherty as the prime suspect. Now 43, he was thought to be living in Spain under a fake Irish passport. 

Despite a widespread search O’Flaherty managed to elude capture until Welsh police surprised him at a Caernarfon Chinese restaurant as he celebrated his birthday in August 2013. 

O’Flaherty, who once served five years for stabbing a man nine times in the back, has been in Alhaurin de la Torre prison awaiting trial. 

He is charged with murder, three counts of attempted murder and illegal possession of a firearm. The trial is expected to begin in March. 

In addition to the 44-year sentence, prosecutors want him to compensate his victim’s two children with €100,000 each.

Jock O’Neil, described by his partner as a “gentle giant,” is survived by his son Jake, who was only three when his father was shot dead, and his daughter Jasmine, who was just nine months old when her father was killed.

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