Shotgun blast went off after ‘out of it’ man seeking revenge fell over dog

Cian Walsh: Pointed gun to the chin of a woman but then tripped over her dog. Picture: Irish Examiner
Cian Walsh: Pointed gun to the chin of a woman but then tripped over her dog. Picture: Irish Examiner

A shot was discharged from a sawn-off shotgun when a man who was threatening to shoot a woman tripped over her dog.

The woman yesterday described how Cian Walsh, aged 30, pointed the shotgun to her chin and she felt that in one false move, she could have been killed.

Det Garda Aoife Hayes said: “He was clearly out of it when this took place. He was positioned on the steps and pointed the double-barrel shotgun at her saying: ‘I will kill you, I will kill him, I will kill all of you.’

“He stumbled over her dog and a single shot was discharged into the air.”

Referring to the accused by his nickname, ‘Chops’, Janice McGrainor said in her statement to gardaí that “Rocky the dog ran down the steps. He ran under his legs and kind of tripped him. Chops fell down two steps. I heard a bang and knew the gun was discharged. When the gun went off, Chops kind of jumped. I saw him kind of stumbling up the lane. He was clearly out of it.”

Det Garda Hayes said Walsh got into a getaway car — a Mitsubishi Lancer — driven by Stephen Coveney, aged 25.

They stopped at St Joseph’s Cemetery and Walsh stashed the gun. Gardaí found it two days later behind a headstone. Det Garda Hayes said it was fortunate that the was not found by a child or any other member of the public. The gun was loaded and the safety catch was off when gardaí found it.

Coveney then drove the car across the Turner’s Cross area towards Páirc Uí Rinn, where more than 11,000 people were arriving for two county semi-finals.

A number of cars were struck, several motorists had to take evasive action, and two Garda cars were struck by the Lancer which did not stop until it crashed into an electricity pole when Coveney tried to drive up on a footpath at Boreenmanna Rd.

Walsh, of 17 Mercier Park, Turner’s Cross, Cork, pleaded guilty to charges of possession of a firearm at St Joseph’s Cemetery, Tory Top Road, Ballyphehane, Cork, on Sunday, September 25, 2016, and threatening to kill a woman at Noonan’s Rd, Cork, on the same date.

Judge Gerard O’Brien sentenced Walsh to six years with the last two years suspended.

Coveney, of 17 Ascension Heights, Churchfield, Cork, pleaded guilty to a charge of endangerment where it was alleged that his driving caused a risk of death or serious injury to patrons attending a hurling match, a second endangerment charge, and two counts of dangerous driving.

Judge O’Brien sentenced him to four years, with the last two years suspended.

Alice Fawsett, defending Walsh, said her client had pleaded guilty so the State did not have to prepare a book of evidence.

Niamh Stewart, defending Coveney, said he was sorry for what he had done and she said he came from a good family.

Det Garda Hayes said the whole incident had been prompted by revenge.

Walsh got into a fight with a man at Noonan Rd on the night before this. At lunchtime on September 25, he went to the area with a loaded sawn-off shotgun. Coveney was his getaway driver.

While he did cause terrible fright for the partner of the man with whom he had been in a dispute the previous night, Walsh only succeeded in accidentally firing the shotgun when he tripped and fell over her dog, Rocky.


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