Former soldier who pulled gun on young boys at Limerick takeaway is jailed

DEFENDANT TRIED TO HIDE REVOLVER DOWN SIDE OF COUCH

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

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david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

Former soldier who pulled gun on young boys at Limerick in takeaway is jailed

Denis O'Keefe was sentenced to two years' imprisonment - Picture: Brendan Gleeson

A FORMER soldier who pulled a gun on two young children at a takeaway in the city has been jailed for two years.

Denis O’Keefe, aged 54, of Ballynanty Road, Ballynanty previously admitted having a Webley revolver at his home on November 3, 2015.

The weapon was located at his home after gardai were alerted to an incident at Freda’s takeaway, Kileely.

During a sentencing hearing, Detective Garda Fergal Hanrahan said having entered Mr O’Keefe’s home, he observed the defendant in the living room attempting to slide the revolver down the side of the chair he was sitting on.

Judge Tom O’Donnell was told the defendant, who was a firearms instructor in the Defence Forces, was too intoxicated to be interviewed following his arrest but subsequently made admissions.

CCTV footage from Freda’s was obtained which showed the two young boys running away when the defendant produced the weapon – which dates back to around the first world war.

Despite its age and poor condition,  the firearm was capable of being used. However, it was not loaded and no ammunition was found by gardai.

While Mr O’Keefe offered a number of reasons as to why he had the gun, Detective Garda Hanrahan said gardai are not satisfied with any of the explanations and “just do not know” why he had it.

During interview he told gardai he had taken the gun out of his pocket because the boys, who were aged ten and 12, got smart with him and he “lost the rag”.

Imposing sentence on Tuesday, Judge Tom O’Donnell commented that the explanations given by Mr O'Keefe as to why he had the gun were a “puzzling” aspect to the case.

He noted there has been a lot of tragedy in the defendant’s life and that he made admissions when questioned by gardai.

Previously Brian McInerney BL said his client accepted he had been foolish but he submitted the offence was at the lower end of the scale.

However, Judge O'Donnell said Mr O'Keefe's actions at the takeaway were outrageous and that it was “extremely frightening” for the two boys.

Noting the contents of a probation report, the judge said he accepted the defendant is genuinely remorseful.

He imposed a four year prison sentence, suspending the final two years for four years.

He ordered the destruction of the firearm.