A DUBLIN man has been jailed for eight years for shooting a 51-year-old man in the city last year.
Thomas Ryan (32) of McKee Park in Cabra, had pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Charlie 'The Walrus’ O’Neill on Glasnevin Avenue in Ballymun on August 26, 2013.
The Central Criminal Court heard Mr O’Neill was shot in the stomach and had to have a portion of his bowel removed. He remained in intensive care until September 11 last.
The court heard Ryan shot himself first in the leg while pulling a double-barrel sawn-off shotgun from his trousers.
Mr Justice Paul Carney sentenced Ryan to 10 years with the final two suspended and backdated it to August 28, 2013 for time spent in custody.
Mr Justice Carney said there was “a new form of pernicious crime”, which is increasing exponentially and flows from the drug scene where someone in the grip of a drugs debt is ordered to carry out an assassination or decides to eliminate their creditor.
This type of defendant “is not going to be deterred by high sentences but it doesn’t mean the sentence should not reflect the gravity of the offence,” said the judge.
In mitigation the judge took into account Ryan’s early plea and his admissions before unconditionally suspending the final two years of the sentence.
The court was told Ryan, who also shot himself by accident in the thigh during the incident, had 13 previous convictions.
Mr O’ Neill was cycling with his friend on August 26, 2013, at Glasnevin Avenue in Ballymun when he noticed a man pulling at his trousers and a shot went off.
A male wearing a baseball cap held a gun out and shot Mr O’ Neill in the stomach. At the time, Mr O’Neill didn’t realise that Ryan had shot himself first in the thigh, the court was told.
Mr O’Neill described being shot on the left side of the stomach area. He described knowing the culprit to see.
The court heard that having been shot Mr O’Neill had stumbled up to a house where a doctor put a dressing on the wound before handing him over to A&E personnel.
Ryan had built up a debt as a result of drugs, the court heard. He had been told it was either him or Mr O’Neill and that his family would be in danger if he went to gardai.
When asked if he would have killed Mr O’Neill he 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’.
Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, told the court that a HSE report in March, 2013, described how Ryan was stressed due to threats on his life and that he was suffering from panic attacks.
He said his client was 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’.