Murderer of ‘doting’ dad jailed for life

A man who shot the “doting” father of a 3-year-old in Blarney, Co Cork, and claimed he had only been trying to scare off the victim, was yesterday found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The jury took just over three-and-a-half hours to return their unanimous verdicts on what was the sixth day of the trial.

They found Michael Collins, aged 29, of Upper Kilmona, Grenagh, Co Cork, guilty of murdering Patrick “Pakie” Hogan at Glen Rd, Ballynaraha, Blarney, on Feb 10 last year. He was also found guilty of possession of a rifle and ammunition with intent to endanger life on the same date.

Det Garda Eimear O’Connell read a victim impact report on behalf of the Hogan family: “He was a wonderful son to his parents Noreen and Stephen, a devoted brother to his siblings, and a doting father and a loving partner to Kathleen.

“Our family is torn apart and will never be the same. Pakie’s death has left a gaping hole in everyone’s lives. Pakie’s baby son, Patrick Jr, asks for his dad every day. He often asks his mother to bring his daddy home.

“How do you explain to a three-and-a-half-year-old boy that his daddy will never be coming home?”

During the trial, an eyewitness who was travelling as a passenger with the deceased said his friend was shot in the chest by a gunman wearing a balaclava as he was on his way to a pub in Blarney on the afternoon of Feb 10, 2011.

Garda Kevin McCarthy said Collins had called to Blarney Garda Station four days before the shooting and asked about the progress of an investigation into complaints made by the accused against Mr Hogan.

“He was not satisfied with the progress that was being made and he said he was going to have to take care of it himself,” said Garda McCarthy.

Dr Michael Curtis, deputy State pathologist, said Mr Hogan was shot in the back near his right shoulder and that the bullet exited on the right side of his upper chest, piercing his right lung.

Interviewed by gardaí, Collins blamed the late Mr Hogan for causing the suicide of his brother and the attempted suicide of another brother by pressurising them over drug debts.

Collins said that following his brother’s suicide attempt he told Mr Hogan he wan-ted nothing more to do with him. Collins said he had worked for Mr Hogan and had paid off money for his brother’s drug debt.

Collins said Mr Hogan rang him shortly after this.

“He told me he was going to kill me. He was going to stand on my neck,” Collins told gardaí. “I’ve been in fear of my life of him.”

He said he kept reporting threats from Mr Hogan to the gardaí but felt they were not doing anything about them so he decided to give him a scare.

Collins said: “I just wan-ted to scare him and go back to work. I did not mean for anything of this to happen. I am totally sorry for what I have done. I did not intend for anyone to get hurt.”

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