The Courthouse, Mulgrave Street
A FATHER-of-two who discharged two shots at an apartment in direct reprisal for the murder of a County Limerick biker has been jailed for four and-a-half years.
Dermot McKenna, aged 52 of Hillview Park, St Patrick’s Road, Limerick had admitted possession of a 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun in suspicious circumstances at Newcastle Court, Dublin Road on June 21, 2015.
McKenna is one of the founders of the Murroe-based Road Tramps MC while a man who was living in the apartment at the time is a senior member of the rival Caballeros MC.
The 51-year-old victim, the court heard, was one of McKenna’s best friends.
The following day, he drove to the apartment complex in Castletroy and waited outside for a short time before using his legally-held shotgun to discharge two shots at a balcony window. The window was damaged but none of the pellets entered the apartment.
Detective Garda Donnacha Coakley said a ten-year-old child had been playing on the balcony a short time earlier and that the apartment was occupied when the shots were fired.
Judge Tom O’Donnell was told the gun, which had been forensically cleaned, was found during a search of the defendant’s home a number of days later.
While there were no witnesses to the actual shooting, Det Garda Coakley said CCTV footage was obtained showing the defendant in the Castletroy area around the time of the shooting.
Following his arrest two days later, McKenna initially denied any knowledge of the shooting, but later accepted he had shot at the apartment knowing a member of the Caballeros lived there.
The married father-of-two told gardai he did not intend hurting anyone and had intended frightening the occupant as he held him responsible for Mr O’Donoghue’s murder.
“I just got it into my head that I wanted to frighten him,” he told gardai.
Anthony Sammon SC, said his client had consumed a significant quantity of alcohol and had also taken Xanax and antidepressants on the day of the shooting.
He said what happened is a source of deep regret for his client - particularly as he missed the funeral of Mr O’Donoghue as he was in custody at the time.
Jailing McKenna this Wednesday, Judge O’Donnell noted the Director of Public Prosecutions is of the belief the offence is at the “top end” of the scale.
“It was a pre-meditated reprisal at a time when tensions were very high,” he said.
“The incident,” he added, “had to be seen in the context of the biker feud at the time.
The judge noted McKenna had pleaded guilty some time ago but that the case could not proceed due to other related cases which were before the courts.
He imposed a seven and-a-half year prison sentence, suspending the final three years.