GARDAI have dramatically increased their presence in Southill over “significant fears” that tensions could escalate after a man was shot at while he fled into his house.
Jason Freyne, 21, of no fixed abode, has appeared before Limerick District Court charged with possession of a handgun and ammunition in Maigue Way, Carew Park, in Southill, on September 19 last. After his arrest on September 24, his reply to one of those charges was: “That’s nothing got to do with me and you can shove your charge sheet up your hole”.
Detective Garda Declan O’Halloran told Judge Eugene O’Kelly that it is the State’s case that Freyne is an “associate with a northside criminal gang, with access to firearms and a large amount of cash”.
“The nature of the incident on September 19 could have been much more serious. Gardai have really significant fears that this situation could be escalated. There is an active investigation underway, and there is now a large garda presence in Carew Park as a result of this incident,” said Detective O’Halloran.
He said it’s alleged that the defendant asked a youth to call out the injured party from his home, and walked alongside the path with him “under the pretence of having a chat”.
When the man noticed a gun in his hand he fled into his home, while he was followed by the defendant and a shot was fired.
The situation, he said, was “highly fuelled” as the defendant allegedly produced a knife during a confrontation with the same man a number of weeks previously.
Detective O’Halloran said a statement was taken from the injured party, who was “in fear” to attend court for the hearing, as well as two further witness statements.
He said gardai also received reliable information 30 minutes after this incident, revealing that a neighbour of the injured party was told that a family home would be burned down.
He said CCTV footage corroborates this evidence and gardai are awaiting the results of forensic analysis from the scene.
He conceded that the CCTV footage was “not the best quality” he has ever seen, but said “it shows the incident as it happens” at around 8.40pm that night. He was apprehended by gardai five days after the incident whilst travelling in the direction of Carew Park.
A vehicle was also seized in Ballynanty a day after the incident, but the handgun has not been recovered to date.
Judge O’Kelly refused bail and remanded the accused in custody until Tuesday, October 1, to seek directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions.