Limerickman gets 15 years for manslaughter of Mark Moloney in drive-by shooting

MARK Moloney was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was shot dead by a teenager in a drive-by shooting in Garryowen, according to his brother who said their lives have been shattered as a result of the killing.

The killer, Stephen O'Sullivan, who had been recruited by a criminal gang in Limerick just weeks before he shot the 40-year-old man, was sentenced to 15 years in jail for manslaughter and possession of a firearm at the Central Criminal Court on Monday.

Mr Moloney was shot in the chest as he chatted with a friend near Garryowen Stores on April 5, 2008.

"Mark wasn't involved in no criminal gangs whatsoever," his brother Noelie Moloney said after sentence was imposed. "He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was not feud related or anything like that, and now all our lives are shattered because of one mistake that Stephen O'Sullivan made."

O'Sullivan, 20, of Galtee View, Southill, pleaded guilty to the crime earlier this month when his confessions were deemed admissible during his trial for murder. The state dropped the murder charge and accepted a plea to manslaughter.

He also received a mandatory 10-year sentence for possession of a 9mm semi-automatic pistol less than 12 hours before the killing.

The then 18-year-old broke into a house where three children were sleeping, and held a gun to the head of their father. Detective Garda David Bourke told the Central Criminal Court that at 5.50 that morning, O'Sullivan shouted through the letterbox of Paul and Sylvia Curtin and their three children in O'Malley Park.

He was calling Mr Curtin to the door, but then threw a partial concrete block through the window and went inside. Mr Curtin ran downstairs and was confronted by O'Sullivan who held a gun to his head and demanded the house key. Mr Curtin managed to run upstairs and O'Sullivan fired a shot after him, but missed.

Hours later, O'Sullivan, dressed in women's clothing and a wig in an attempt to disguise himself, killed Mr Moloney in broad daylight.

Detective Garda Brendan Casey said the victim was not himself involved in any criminal gang but he had relations who were and this made him a soft target.

Defence counsel Barry McDonald argued that the shooting was not gang-related and the fact that the state accepted a plea to manslaughter showed there was no intention to cause serious harm. He said the case was one of reckless discharge of a firearm.

Mr Moloney's sister, Majella Moloney, told the court that when O'Sullivan killed her brother, he also killed their mother, Kitty, who never again got out of bed and has since died.

Mr Justice Barry White imposed the statutory minimum sentence for ten years on the firearm charge. He said he had to take his plea and young age into consideration when deciding on the sentence for manslaughter and imposed eight years.

He imposed consecutive sentences but suspended the final three years and backdated it to April 2008.


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