Motorcycle gang threatened to burn accused’s home down with family inside, court hears

A man accused of shooting dead a biker told gardai that "tensions were running high" after members of a rival motorcycle club threatened to burn his house down with his family inside, reports Eoin Reynolds.

Alan ’Cookie’ McNamara (51), from Mountfune, Murroe, Co Limerick has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Andrew "AOD" O’Donoghue on Saturday June 20, 2015 at Mountfune.

Also on trial is Mr McNamara’s stepson Robert Cusack (28), of Abington, Murroe who has pleaded not guilty to impeding Mr McNamara’s apprehension knowing or believing him to have committed a serious offence.

Sergeant Brian O’Connor and Detective Garda Niall Fitzgerald told prosecuting counsel John O’Sullivan BL that they interviewed Mr McNamara at Roxboro Garda Station in Limerick on June 21 2015.

Sgt O’Connor agreed that Mr McNamara told them that members of the Road Tramps motorcycle group had "tried to beat the shit out of me" on the Friday night.

When asked about the shooting, he said he felt sorry for Mr O’Donoghue’s child and added: "I didn’t look for no trouble. I just want to live my life and get on with it."

Describing events that weekend he said the bikers attacked him outside Kelly’s pub in Doon, Co Limerick, struck him on the head, beat him to the ground and took his waistcoat from him. The waistcoat had a Caballeros "patch" sewn into it. He said his wife was also attacked.

He told gardai he did not know how the men knew he was in Doon and thought they might be watching him.

On his way home, after the attack, he said he passed the Road Tramps clubhouse and was followed by men in a maroon car, one of whom was carrying a gun. He told interviewing gardai that CCTV outside the club would show his car going past, followed by the maroon car.

The men stopped outside Mr McNamara’s home and, in front of his wife and young child, he said they threatened to burn down his house with his family in it. "They would kill us," he said. He got his children out of the house and spent that Friday night in fear of what was going to happen next. "Were they going to burn down my house?" he said.

He said he feared for his life and his family’s life and he took the threat seriously. At one point he considered contacting the Road Tramps club but feared that might make things worse.

The following day, the day of the shooting, Mr McNamara said "tensions were running high" and his wife gave him four Valium that morning to calm him down.

In a later interview he said he was sorry that Mr O’Donoghue was dead and added: "I know AOD [Mr O’Donoghue] is dead. I’m dead. My family is going to suffer."

In an interview on June 22, he described the situation as "a disaster", and said he wouldn’t be in this mess if they hadn’t called to his house.

He said he loves life and loves people and added: "Times were just starting to be good, and now this."

The jury also heard from Detective Garda Ursula Cummins of the ballistics section at Garda HQ who said she examined shotgun cartridges found at the scene of Mr O’Donoghue’s shooting and compared them with cartridges fired from a gun found in a wooded area behind the accused man’s home.

She said she looked at marks left on the cartridges by the firing pin under a microscope and was satisfied that one of the cartridges, a 12-gauge shotgun cartridge, was fired by that gun. The other was inconclusive. Analyzing the gun, she said it was sawn to a barrel length of 37cm and therefore could not be a legally held firearm in Ireland. The minimum legal length for a shotgun barrel in Ireland is 60cm.

The witness also used the gun to successfully discharge cartridges seized by gardai at Mr McNamara’s home following the shooting.

The trial continues tomorrow before Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of seven men and four women.

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