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Pal who saw Melanie shot dead is 'still traumatised'

A 20-year-old man who was present when teenager Melanie McCarthy was shot dead suffered terrible trauma after the incident, it has emerged.

Sean Byrne – who was friendly with Melanie's boyfriend – was given a suspended jail sentence yesterday. It was revealed that he suffered chronic post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the fatal shooting.

His lawyer told Dublin Circuit Court that Byrne's behaviour was very out of character as a result of the incident in which the teenager was shot dead in front of him as they sat in a car.

 

Encampment

Byrne drove Melanie to hospital but she died from her injuries.

Dublin Circuit Court heard that Byrne turned to drink and drugs and was staying at a Travellers' encampment in the weeks after the shooting.

The trial of two men is due to start soon over the killing.

A month after the February 2012 killing, Byrne was arrested after a high-speed chase that began in Finglas and ended in a collision on Blessington Road, Tallaght.

He was driving the car when it crashed into a jeep in which a man was taking his two teenage daughters to the Irish Dancing World Championships.

Byrne, of Brookfield Heights, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving, endangerment and using an uninsured vehicle at Blessington Road on March 31, 2012.

Judge Desmond Hogan suspended a jail term of two years on condition that Byrne does 240 hours' community service. He also fined him €500 and banned him from driving for three years.

Garda Robbie Byrne said Byrne drove 20 miles across built-up areas, sometimes reaching 155kph.

 

Helicopter

At times Byrne turned off the car headlamps and 'blind overtook' three cars while a garda helicopter tracked the car along the M50.

Byrne also drove on the wrong side of the road, nearly forcing oncoming cars off the road.

Garda Byrne agreed with David Wheelahan, defending, that the two others in the car were older men with more extensive criminal histories.

kfoy@herald.ie


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