AN electrician murdered a delivery breadman before going on a rampage in which he attempted to shoot a council cleaner and another man.
John Coughlan (33), of Pineview Gardens, Moyross, Limerick, was sentenced to life imprisonment after he shot father-of-two Daniel Treacy (35) four times at a Topaz garage in Limerick on February 2010.
Coughlan – a qualified electrician with no previous convictions – was found guilty at the Central Criminal Court.
The court heard that Treacy was shot dead in a revenge attack after the gunman's younger brother, Darren Coughlan, had been kicked to death in 2005 by the victim's brother, Richard Treacy, and his cousin, Joseph Keane. The cousins were later jailed for six years.
Armed with a Glock handgun, which has never been recovered, John Coughlan drove to the service station – where Daniel Treacy regularly called – shortly after 6am on the morning of the gun attack.
After seeing the delivery man walk into the station, Coughlan followed him in, took the gun from a Dunnes Stores bag and shot Treacy three times in the head and once in the groin.
The Irish Independent can reveal that Coughlan then drove across the city to a home at Castletroy View, belonging to a family that is closely associated with Greg Crawford, a convicted murderer who was previously arrested by gardai investigating the killing of Darren Coughlan, although no conviction arose.
Coughlan, with the Dunnes bag in his hand, knocked on the door but there was no answer at the house.
With rush-hour traffic building, Coughlan then travelled into Patrick Street in the city centre, where David Conway – a city council worker – was operating a mini-sweeper.
Patrick Keane – an uncle of Daniel Treacy – normally operated the mini-sweeper. However, on the morning that his nephew was murdered, Patrick Keane's mini-sweeper was not working and he was deployed by Limerick City Council to work elsewhere.
As the gunman approached the mini-sweeper, he put his hand into the Dunnes bag and looked directly at Mr Conway.
Realising that the man was not Patrick Keane, he fled from the area and drove to north Kerry, where his red, 1996-registered Toyota Corolla was found burnt out on a beach.
Coughlan later returned to Limerick and drank in Hassett's pub, before returning home, where he was arrested. The gun was never recovered.
His defence claimed that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the shooting, which would have substantially diminished his responsibility.
However, the jury found otherwise and Mr Justice Paul Carney sentenced Coughlan to life imprisonment for the murder of Treacy. The sentence was backdated to March 1, 2010.
Just a month after the murder, city council mini-sweeper operator Patrick Keane threatened to kill his co-worker, Patrick Coughlan – an uncle of brothers John and Darren Coughlan.
Patrick Keane – a brother to murdered crime boss Kieran Keane and convicted drugs lord Christy Keane – received a suspended 12-month prison in Limerick District Court for threatening to kill Patrick Coughlan. He also lost his job as a result.
At yesterday's sentencing, Ashling Treacy, a sister of Daniel, said he loved life and lived for his two children Danielle and Kieran, his partner Amanda, his family and his job as a baker and delivery man in his family-run business.
She said: "Danielle and Kieran are heartbroken and devastated without a wonderful father who did everything, from day to day activities, as well as family holidays every year and at Christmas.
"Daniel did not see his son Kieran make his first Holy Communion; instead, Kieran had to visit his father's grave that day when it should have been a day to treasure," she added.