Crime boss gets 7 years for wounding 6-year-old girl

A MAN described as a leading organised crime figure who wounded a young girl out playing when he shot at rival gang members has been jailed for seven years.

Limerick Circuit Criminal Court heard that Christy Curtin, 39, was “a violent individual who operates an organised crime gang in the city”.

He pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a Lanber semi-automatic shot gun at Southill on May 31 last along with ammunition.

His brother, Paul Curtin, 28, of Rearcross, Newport, Co Tipperary, who removed the gun from the scene and hid it, was jailed for three years.

Their uncle, Eric Curtin, 45, of Hillview, Kilteely, Co Limerick, drove the car used in the shooting and he walked free from court with a five-year suspended sentence.

Judge Carroll Moran said Eric Curtin’s last conviction dated from 1992 and he had been pressurised to get involved in the shooting by his nephew Christy Curtin.

Evidence was heard last month when state prosecutor John O’Sullivan said: “This is as serious a case as you will get in this courtroom.”

Christy Curtin, with an address at Salvia Court, Southill, armed himself with the gun — described as a sophisticated weapon — after members of the rival McCarthy-Dundon gang attacked his father’s house.

As the Audi getaway car drove through nearby Lilac Court, members of the Curtin family came on the McCarthy-Dundon members.

Eric Curtin was driving a Mazda and Christy Curtin got out and opened fire, discharging two shots from the shotgun.

It was around 3.30pm and at the time, Saoirse O’Neill, aged six, was playing in her front garden. She was hit in the ankle by shotgun pellets from Curtin’s gun. A passing car was also hit.

The girl suffered a puncture wound to her right foot.

While the wound was superficial, she and her parents were very traumatised by the shooting.

Det Garda Padraig O’Dwyer said along with witness statements they obtained evidence from CCTV in the area. The gun and 10 cartridges were found in follow-up searches.

Det Garda O’Dwyer said the shooting and house attack were related to a feud between two rival gangs in the south side.

Christy Curtin told gardaí he was sorry for the girl getting hit and it was his intention to frighten the people in the Audi.

He said his uncle and brother did not want to be involved in going after the Audi and he wanted to stress that he forced them.

All three men have previous convictions. One of Christy Curtin’s convictions related to a serious assault on a postman which resulted in postmen getting garda protection when delivering in Southill.

Judge Moran said the degree of culpability was different with regard to the three accused.

Christy Curtin was the most seriously involved. He backdated his seven-year sentence to June 4 since which date he had been in custody.

Paul Curtin’s three-year sentence is to commence next August when a sentence he is currently serving ends.

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