Limerick man who threatened suicide ‘feared for his life’

A LIMERICK criminal who tied a rope around his neck and threatened to throw himself off Sarsfield Bridge, sparking traffic chaos, said he was in fear due to evidence he gave at a murder trial.

Jonathan ‘Skah’ McCarthy, 34, was “talked” off the bridge after nearly an hour on Good Friday.

He said: “I just wanted out. I just wanted it all over and done with. I reckoned that if I was gone, my family would be okay and everything else would just go away.”

However, it emerged yesterday he did something similar in Southill, where he lived, over 10 years ago when gardaí were called after he tied a rope around his neck and threatened to jump from a tree. At the time he had been wearing a surgical collar.

A garda who investigated that matter said: “There was no fear of him.”

The father-of-seven said he contemplated the recent suicide as he feared for his life after an associate of convicted murderer Willie Campion was released from jail. Campion is serving life for the murder of Clare farmer Paudge Skeehan in 2000 and McCarthy gave evidence at the trial.

‘Skah’ McCarthy was shot in 2003 and, despite multiple shot gun pellets in the buttock, walked down the aisle in a Co Tipperary church the following morning after discharging himself from hospital.

He said yesterday: “Giving evidence has literally destroyed my life. What has to happen next, have I to be killed? I shouldn’t have to be killed at all. I’m a human being like everybody else.”

McCarthy said he had been promised Garda protection after he gave evidence at the murder trial. A friend, Danny, he claimed, persuaded him not to go through with the suicide jump.

“Danny was just talking saying ‘Jonathan, it’s not worth it. You have kids. I don’t want to be going to your funeral’.”

McCarthy was then brought to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital and left a few hours later complaining about having to wait.

He openly admits serving time in prison. He is not connected to any of Limerick’s gang criminals. “I’m not a saint but I’m not a major criminal,” he said.

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