Man loses gun licence over row with neighbour who chased him with axe

A man jailed for chasing his neighbour through fields with an axe complained to gardaí on his release that the victim had pointed a gun at him.

Yesterday, this man lost his gun licence.

Supt Con Cadogan said he had no issue with the character of Jeremiah Murphy, a former publican who traded successfully in Castletownbere and Blarney, Co Cork, but said he refused to renew the licence because of the fraught situation Mr Murphy had with his neighbour, Niall Savage, aged 44, of Killeen, Vicarstown, Tower, Blarney, Co Cork.

Mr Savage was jailed for three months for assaulting Jeremiah Murphy at Kerry Road, Blarney, at 4.40pm on Dec 24, 2010, and being in possession of an axe.

Joseph Cuddigan, solicitor, said Mr Murphy had held gun licences for about 30 years and was never in trouble in his life.

Shortly after Mr Savage’s release from prison, he alleged he was walking his dogs at night and Mr Murphy came out of his house with a shotgun, aimed it at him and said: “I’ll blow your fucking head off.”

Mr Murphy said that simply did not happen: “I wouldn’t be stupid enough to do it.”

Mr Murphy said Mr Savage had a vendetta against him. He said in the appeal of the superintendent’s refusal to renew his rifle licences that he never took the law into his own hands and always complained to gardaí if he had any problem with his neighbour.

Mr Cuddigan said that Mr Murphy was a totally law-abiding citizen and should not be penalised for the behaviour of his neighbour. The complaint made by Mr Savage about Mr Murphy allegedly pointing a gun at him was considered by the DPP, who decided that Mr Murphy should not be prosecuted.

Judge Olann Kelleher said: “I have great sympathy for the position he [Mr Murphy] finds himself in. It is clear to me that he is not the aggressor in all the skullduggery that is going on. It is no reflection on Mr Murphy that he is here today having to appeal.

“But having regard to the circumstances in which he finds himself, he is living in a very fraught situation, the last thing a person should have is a firearm.”

The judge refused Mr Murphy’s appeal so he is no longer licensed to hold the two firearms that were seized from him after the allegation made by Mr Savage.

During the case, Mr Cuddigan solicitor argued that Mr Savage’s complaint could not be taken at face value as it was made by someone with a strong bias as he would have blamed Mr Murphy for the fact that he had been jailed for three months.

More in this section