Sunday 17 December 2017

'Informant' jailed after woman (21) shot in neck

Ms Sheehan in hospital Photo: Provision
Ms Sheehan in hospital Photo: Provision
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A self-confessed Garda informant was jailed for 11 years over a shooting which left a woman fighting for her life with a bullet wound to the neck.

Ciara Sheehan (21) admitted that the shooting left her fearing death.

Judge Sean O'Donnabhain warned Gavin Sheehan (30) it was a miracle Ms Sheehan, who is no relation, hadn't been killed. "This man mercilessly and deliberately took a gun and fired it into a dwelling house that was lit and occupied," the judge said.

Judge O'Donnabhain told Cork Circuit Criminal Court it was "reprehensible behaviour" that Mr Sheehan had later sent a Christmas card to his victim from prison.

"There is not a shred of remorse. I have been looking for remorse [in him], but I do not find it," he said.

CCTV camera footage at Mr Sheehan's own home showed him with a gun in his hand that night.

"The level of criminality is shown not by Garda evidence, but from his own 'peacock' display on his own CCTV camera [footage]."

Mr Sheehan posted a comment that evening by mobile phone that "I'm packing well" - slang for carrying a weapon.

Judge O'Donnabhain imposed a 14-year sentence, but suspended the final three years.

He backdated the sentence to May 15, 2016, when Mr Sheehan went into custody.

Mr Sheehan has 72 previous convictions, 14 for violent crime.

In defence submissions, it was claimed he was a Garda informer in Cork, supplying information about drugs, guns and general criminality.

However, Det Sergeant Denis Lynch said he couldn't comment.

"I am not in a position to answer that question," he said.

Mr Sheehan, the father of a 10-month-old child, was convicted last November by a jury of the reckless discharge of a firearm and assault causing serious harm to Ms Sheehan at Hollywood Estate on May 15, 2016.

He was also convicted of weapon and ammunition possession charges.

Mr Sheehan, of Laurel Ridge, Shanakiel, Cork, denied all charges.

The trial heard there was a long-running dispute between Mr Sheehan and members of the family of Ms Sheehan's boyfriend, Dillon Cunningham.

"All that went through my head was that I was going to die. It was like something from a movie," Ms Sheehan said.

"I felt my throat getting all tight and my face was burning. I put my hand up to my neck and it was covered in blood. I realised I was shot.

"I am [now] completely broken. I am a different person. When I look in the mirror every morning, all I can see is that big ugly scar on the side of my neck. I am going through torture."

Irish Independent

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