Friday 17 November 2017

Man to be sentenced for attempted murder of Patrick Charles O'Neill (51) in Ballymun

Mr. Justice Paul Carney
Mr. Justice Paul Carney

A Dublin man will be sentenced next Monday for the attempted murder of a man in August 2013.

Thomas Ryan (32) of McKee Park in Dublin has pleaded guilty to shooting Patrick Charles O’Neill (51) on Glasnevin Avenue in Ballymun.  

Gerardine Small SC, prosecuting confirmed with a member of the gardai that Ryan had shot at Charles O’Neill.

“On 26 August 2013 at Glasnevin Avenue in Ballymun, Charlie O Neill was cycling with his friend when he noticed a man pulling at his trousers and a shot went off,” she said.

“A male wearing a baseball cap held a gun out and shot at him in the stomach. At the time, Charlie O’Neill didn’t realise the culprit had shot himself (Ryan) with the first shot. He described being shot on the left side beside the stomach area. He described knowing the culprit to see but said he never had any dealings with him.”

The court heard that having been shot, Mr O’Neill had stumbled up to a resident’s house where a Dr Gilmartin put a dressing on the wound before handing him over to A & E personnel.

Gardai were told that a gunman wearing a blue hat and dark clothing had dropped the gun and run down a laneway. They observed the defendant Thomas Ryan and observed that the defendant had a large open wound to his upper thigh.

When asked what had happened, Ryan had said ‘I shot myself taking out my gun’.

Prosecutor Small went on to read a number of interviews that took place following Ryans arrest on 28 August.

Ms Small read that Ryan had built up a debt as a result of drugs. He had been told it was either him or Mr O’Neill and that if he went to gardai, his family would be in danger.

When asked would he have killed Mr O’Neill he had replied ‘yes’. Ryan admitted in interview that he didn’t know much about guns and that he had shot himself when taking the gun out.

When asked what he had done after shooting himself, Ryan said he ‘ran up to the fella and shot him’. He indicated that he had panicked and dropped the gun at the scene.

The court heard that Charles O’Neill had to have a portion of his bowel removed and that he had remained in intensive care until 11 September.

Mr O’Neill did not wish to compile a victim impact statement.

The court was told that Ryan has 13 previous convictions. 

Michael O’Higgins SC defending said that the remorse his client felt was ‘genuine’ and that Ryan had been relieved that the injured party had not died.

Mr O’Higgins told the court that a HSE report in March 2013 described how Ryan was stressed due to threats on his life and suffering from panic disorder and an inability to sleep. He said that his client would have been ‘vulnerable to the kind of threats that were made against his family’.

He said his client is ‘not a gangland type figure’ and that this was one of few occasions where someone said ‘I will kill someone because I don’t want to be killed myself’.

Mr Justice Paul Carney remanded him in custody for sentencing next Monday.

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