A verdict of unlawful killing has been returned at the inquest into the death of a man who was shot in the head as he sat in his van in Sligo town 11 years ago.

Hughie McGinley, 26, of Connaughton Road in Sligo died as a result of a single gunshot wound to the head, an unsurvivable injury, according to the State Pathologist, Professor Marie Cassidy.

Shortly after 3pm on 28 April 2005, Hughie McGinley parked his white Toyota Hiace van outside a shop on Grattan Street.

The inquest heard that he had pulled in to ask a man if his American pitbull dog was for sale, when another man wearing a dark coloured motorcycle helmet approached the van.

He shot Mr McGinley once in the head, through the drivers door at close range.

Mr McGinley's partner, Jacqueline McGuinness and their baby were in the van with him when he was shot.

Two of his brothers got into Mr McGinley's van and drove him to hospital where he was admitted in a critical condition and died there later that evening.

Coroner Eamon MacGowan commended the actions of Sgt Padraig Cunnane who had rushed out of a shop when he heard the gunshot and screaming.

Sgt Cunnane stopped a man driving a jeep and got him to follow the van taking Ms McGuinness and himself to the hospital. 

Inspector Daniel Sweeney told the inquest that there has been an exhaustive investigation into the murder with over 550 statements taken.

Three suspects were arrested in 2005, he said, but exercised their right to remain silent and nothing of evidential value was gleaned from the interviews.

Insp Sweeney said the likelihood of further new evidence is not probable but the investigation remains open.

None of Mr McGinley's family were present at the inquest.

Sgt Philip Maree said they had been informed in advance of the inquest and gardaí had also called to them today when they had not appeared at the courthouse but he said they chose not to come.

The Coroner said that everyone in Sligo remembers this case with shock.

It was a terrible thing that a man was shot in public in front of his girlfriend and child and everyone has to pick up the pieces, he said.

He said that Mr McGinley’s family are still very tender and did not want to be at the courthouse today.

Mr MacGowan said he hopes Sligo at least has seen an end to these killings.