Friday 23 February 2018

Man jailed for shooting his cousin in legs over will dispute

Tom Shiel

A man who shot his cousin twice in the legs with a shotgun because he believed she had persuaded his mother to change her will, was jailed yesterday for four years.

Vincent O'Donnell (47), a hairdresser, of Knocknabrone, Mayo Abbey, Claremorris, Co Mayo, had pleaded guilty to shooting Dympna Walshe at the Costcutters Store in Balla, Co Mayo, on May 31, 2011.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing a double-barrelled shotgun with intent to cause serious harm.

Seven-year prison sentences -- to run concurrently -- were imposed for each charge at the Circuit Criminal Court in Castlebar yesterday.

Judge Rory McCabe suspended the final three years of each sentence and ordered O'Donnell to get addiction counselling.

Ms Walshe, an employee of Costcutters, underwent life- saving surgery after bleeding profusely when she was shot twice by O'Donnell, once in each thigh.

Before imposing sentence on the accused yesterday, Judge McCabe commented that the victim was "lucky to be alive".

Detective Garda Roisin Loftus told how the accused was arrested by armed officers in his local bar, Malachy Byrne's Pub in Mayo Abbey, hours after the shooting. O'Donnell told gardai: "Are ye here to take me away? I'm finished."

After caution he said: "I shot her. I shot her and she fully wanted it. I shot her."

Det Gda Loftus said the accused had grown up with Ms Walshe, his second cousin, in Mayo Abbey and she was friendly with his mother, Maureen O'Donnell.

Mrs O'Donnell had made a will and then changed it. In July 2008 Mrs O'Donnell gave Ms Walshe a bank draft for €5,000 and three complaints were subsequently made to gardai by Ms Walshe of hostile behaviour towards her by Vincent O'Donnell.

In a victim impact statement, Ms Walsh said that she was serving two customers in the shop when O'Donnell came in. He never spoke.

Panicked

"I looked away for a split second to insert the laser card in the machine. When I looked back at Vincent I saw that he was holding something in his hands. He then lifted it up a bit and that's when I realised it was a gun.

"I shouted to Vincent, 'What are you doing?' I panicked and ran to my right side to escape. Then there was a very loud bang and I fell to the ground screaming, 'he shot me'.

"I knew it was my left hip. The pain was excruciating, then another bang to my right thigh. I was screaming and screaming. There was blood everywhere."

Ms Walshe added that as she was on the floor screaming: "I saw him throw the gun over towards me. He raised his two hands up in the air, laughed and smirked at me and turned and walked out the door."

Irish Independent

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