Trial of Limerick man charged over shooting reaches closes stages

David Hurley


David Hurley

Thomas McCarthy (centre) was found guilty of shooting Gerard Hennessy and Colette Hennessy
A JURY has heard that a County Limerick man who is accused of shooting another man and his pregnant sister told gardai he “couldn’t give a s***” during interviews following his arrest.

A JURY has heard that a County Limerick man who is accused of shooting another man and his pregnant sister told gardai he “couldn’t give a s***” during interviews following his arrest.

Limerick Circuit Court has heard that Thomas McCarthy, aged 33, of Sli na Milaoise, Rathkeale was arrested more than a month after Gerard Hennessy, 35, and Colette Hennessy, 40, were shot outside their family home at Castleview Estate, Newcastle West on August 13, last.

Mr McCarthy has pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

The jury has been told that Mr McCarthy travelled to the UK in the days after the shooting and was arrested more than a month later when he returned to Limerick.

The jury of eight men and three women have heard details of several interviews which took place at Newcastle West garda station over a number of days.

When asked how he felt about the shooting he told gardai “I couldn’t give a s***, he assaulted me 11 years ago hallelujah, f*** him”.

When asked to account for his whereabouts at the time of the shooting, Mr McCarthy said he had dropped his brother, Dan, at a barbers in Newcastle West that morning and that he was at a house in Knockaderry when the shooting happened that and a local auctioneer has seen him there.

Mr McCarthy said after he received a phone call from a friend who told him Gerard Hennessey had been shot, he travelled to Charleville and later onto Cahir where he stayed at a hotel under a false name for three nights.

He told gardai he returned to from the UK in September as his father was under pressure and to “prove a point” that he was innocent.

The defendant described statements made by the alleged victims, which identified him as the shooter, as “s***”.

The jury has been shown CCTV footage from Castleview Estate on the day of the shooting.

Two shots can be heard on the footage which captures a man running from the direction of the incident and getting into a silver Saab car which then leaves the estate at speed.

It is prosecution case that Mr McCarthy shot Gerard Hennessy and Colette Hennessy with a sawn-off shotgun before fleeing in the silver car.

During interview, Mr McCarthy agreed that CCTV footage in the days leading up to the shooting shows him driving in the Castleview Estate - even though he and his brother were both the subject of an exclusion order at the time.

However, he denied he was in the estate to follow Mr Hennessy and to track his movements.

When asked about the breaches of the exclusion order, Mr McCarthy told gardai it didn’t bother him “one bit” and he agreed he has no regard for the law or for court orders.

This week the jury has heard further evidence from one of the alleged victims of the shooting - Gerard Hennessy.

Being cross-examined by Brendan Nix SC, he said he runs a small construction business employing five people in Hackney, London and in Malaga.

He said he earns between €3,000 and €5,000 a week doing small jobs such as gound work and pipe-laying.

He admitted he does not pay tax or VAT in Spain but said his affairs are in order in the UK.

“It’s not a big business, it’s a small business,” he told Mr Nix.

Mr Hennessy admitted assaulting the defendant more than a decade ago and he said he assaulted another man - Michael ‘Dusty’ O’Callaghan a number of weeks after last year’s shooting because he is a friend of Mr McCarthy’s.

The witness agreed there has been bad blood and a grudge between him and Mr McCarthy going back more than a decade.

Following six days of evidence at Limerick Circuit Court, the prosecution, led by Michael Collins BL, instructed by state solictor Aidan Judge, closed its case this Wednesday afternoon.

Judge Tom O’Donnell has informed the jury of eight men and three women they will hear closing speeches from both the prosecution and defence this Thursday before he addresses them in his Judge’s Charge.