Guilty of shooting woman in neck

Unanimous guilty verdicts were delivered by the jury yesterday in the trial of a man who denied shooting a young woman in the neck through the front window of a house in Cork.

Gavin Sheehan will be sentenced by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin on February 14 at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. He was remanded in continuing custody.

The verdicts came after approximately three hours of deliberation at the end of a week-long trial.

Sheehan, aged 30, of 7 Laurel Ridge, Shanakiel, Cork, denied the four charges against him related to possessing and firing the gun and most significantly, seriously injuring the young woman.

Ciara Sheehan addressed the jury directly in the trial, telling them what it felt like to be shot in the neck.

“We were talking in the front room. I was standing in front of the window. I heard a loud bang. We ran towards the kitchen. I felt my throat was getting all tight, my face was burning. I touched my neck, there was blood on my hands. That is when I realised I got shot in the neck. [Boyfriend] Dylan [Cunningham]brought me to his mam’s car in the back and we drove to CUH. I had surgery twice, the bullet was still stuck in my neck. I was five or six days in hospital,” Ms Sheehan testified.

There was no witness to say they saw Sheehan firing the shot. The prosecution case was built on circumstantial evidence. Some of the CCTV evidence came from a camera the accused man had on the outside of his own home.

Donal O’Sullivan, prosecuting, said apart from CCTV of a man they say was Sheehan, they have a message from his phone where he allegedly said: “I am packing well.” He asked the jury to use their common sense to decide what that meant.

Mr O’Sullivan said the inference from all the evidence was inescapable that the accused fired the shot.

Gavin Sheehan did not give evidence in his trial. The judge told the jury the accused was presumed innocent and was not obliged to give evidence.

Two neighbouring Cork city estates, Laurel Ridge and Hollywood estate, formed the backdrop to much of the disputed action. The jury was told there was a dispute going on betweenGavin Sheehan and members of the Cunningham family of 37 Hollywood estate.

On May 14, Dylan Cunningham was in Dino’s chipper in Blackpool with his girlfriend, Ciara Sheehan, when Gavin Sheehan came in and there was a punch thrown.

Ciara Sheehan said Gavin Sheehan asked Dylan Cunningham for his phone number in the chipper, punched him once and then walked out.

At around midnight there was a series of events including the smashing of windows at 37 Hollywood estate and 7 Laurel Ridge. “A shot is fired at 37 Hollywood estate. The curtains are closed, the lights are on. Ciara Sheehan ended up being shot in her neck. She had to be operated upon and a bullet removed from her neck. The prosecution says the person who fired the shot in the window is Gavin Sheehan and by doing so he assaulted Ciara Sheehan causing her serious harm,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“Gavin Sheehan left his home, fired a shot through a window, left the scene and came back to his home from a different direction. That fundamentally is the state’s case.”

The jury reached 11-0 verdicts of guilty on each of the four charges.

MYSTERIOUS TEXT

A mysterious text message was sent to a juror sworn in for the case against Gavin Sheehan who was convicted yesterday of shooting a young woman in the neck.

The juror reported to gardaí after the first day of the case that he received a text message which simply stated, “Hello juror number (his jury number).”

The juror felt intimidated and took the matter seriously enough to report it to gardaí.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin asked the juror — in the absence of the other 11 jurors — “Have you spoken to or discussed this with any member of the jury?”

He replied that he had not.

The judge discharged the juror and the case continued with seven women and four men. 

Finding out who sent the text may prove difficult if not impossible as the juror reacted by deleting it as soon as he read it.


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