Killer gets life after blasting his victim in the face
A father-of-two who shot another man in the face with a shotgun at a house party two years ago killing him, has been jailed for life.
When gardai told him he had been identified at the scene of the shooting he told them: "That's bullshit. Nobody saw me. I had a balaclava and gloves."
Leigh Crowe (33), with an address at Elm Park, Clonmel, Tipperary, admitted the manslaughter of 25-year-old Owen Cahill, the attempted murder of Mark Doolan at the party on April 2, 2006, and to assault causing harm to Sharon Rossiter.
On the night of the shooting two masked men entered the house on the outskirts of Clonmel carrying a double-barrelled sawn-off shotgun and a pump- action shotgun.
Sgt Barry O'Riordan told prosecutor Denis Vaughan Buckley SC at the Central Criminal Court that one of the men walked up to Mr Cahill and shot him in the face at point blank range. He died almost instantaneously.
Mr Doolan managed to distract the gunmen momentarily but received a gunshot wound to the upper right arm. Mr Vaughan Buckley told the court Mr Doolan was still receiving treatment for his injuries. Sgt O'Riordan said that when Crowe was interviewed he asked gardai what evidence they had against him.
Crowe said that if he went to prison "they" would get him but if he got out of the situation he would "go to Spain and never be seen again".
He had 23 previous convictions, including eight for assault, two of which included serious assault.
Mr Cahill's mother, Catherine, said in a victim impact statement read out to the court that there was no way to express "the pain, hurt and impact on the whole family" caused by her son's death".
She said when she heard the news "it was like there was nobody else in the room and the world just stood still". She said her daughter had "completely crumbled" when she lost her protective older brother. Mr Cahill's father was a "broken man" and her husband felt he had also lost a son.
She said she had no hatred for the men who had killed her son but wanted justice. She said her son would not be able to see his son grow up and his son would grow up without a father.
Mr John Kelly SC told Mr Justice Paul Carney that a psychiatric assessment of Crowe suggested he had been suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after being shot in the back in front of his partner and two children 18 months before. He believed Mr Cahill had been involved.
Mr Kelly said Crowe had a difficult childhood and had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He had started drinking heavily and taking drugs in his late teens but after he was shot he entered a detox programme and got himself a job as a labourer which he held for 15 months.
A few months before the offence he received information from gardai that his life was in danger. He started drinking heavily, consuming a litre of vodka every day and stopped going to work. He became increasingly paranoid and started taking "speed" to stay awake.
On the day of the shooting he had not slept for several days. Mr Justice Carney sentenced Crowe to life for the manslaughter of Mr Cahill with 15 years for attempting to murder Mr Doolan and five years for assaulting Ms Rossiter.
All three sentences are to run concurrently and be backdated to the date of Crowe's arrest.