Jail for gunman who roamed city wearing body armour

A man wearing a bullet-proof vest and armed with a sawn-off shotgun roamed Limerick on his pedal bike, intent on shooting people, and yesterday he was jailed for five and a half years.

Jail for gunman who roamed city wearing body armour

Before he was arrested following a chase, Jason Freyne wounded one man on a busy street, where his victim was chatting to a group including young girls, one with special needs.

The following day, an off-duty garda spotted him and after being chased on his bike, Freyne pulled the gun on gardaí, telling them he would have killed somebody had he not been arrested.

Freyne said: “I was going to leave off a shot at them, the gardaí that were chasing me.”

On passing sentence at Limerick Circuit Court, Judge Tom O’Donnell said what was extremely alarming was that Freyne thought it appropriate to ride around the streets of Limerick on his bike, wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying an adapted sawn-off shotgun, which he was prepared to use.

“Prior to his arrest, he threatened to cause carnage,” said Judge O’Donnell.

During the sentencing hearing, Freyne laughed and interrupted the judge, saying: “Tom, can I say something? I’m not involved in no feud or no gang. He slagged off my father and that’s why I shot him.”

After sentence was passed, Freyne remarked as he walked from the courtroom: “Thanks Tom.”

Chilling details of the escapade emerged at a previous sitting of the court, when Freyne, aged 24 of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to charges of possessing a 12 gauge sawn-off shotgun and cartridges at Hyde Rd on May 9, 2015, with intent to endanger life.

Freyne’s first attack was carried out on Hyde Rd at around lunchtime, when a group came under fire.

One man was wounded and another avoided injury when shotgun pellets hit a wall and a gate pillar at the entrance to his house, where he took refuge.

The following day, Freyne rode his bike through the city centre in search of another victim and was pursued by gardaí. When captured, he was found with the gun and was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

In custody, Freyne told gardaí that after the Hyde Rd shooting, he had started out on another mission and would have shot somebody had he not been arrested.

Detective Garda Brian O’Connor, Roxboro Rd station, said the man who was wounded in the attack, Joseph ‘Dodo’ McCarthy, aged 43, had gone to meet Liam ‘Lika’ Casey, who lived at 163 Hyde Rd, at around 2.30pm on May 9, 2015.

They sat on a wall outside the house. A number of others were present, including two teenage girls — one with special needs — two women, and ‘Lika’ Casey’s father, Liam Casey Sr.

A man appeared, coming down the road on a bike, and cycling in the direction of the railway station.

Suddenly, this man started roaring, jumped off his bike, and ran towards the group. He pulled out a sawn-off shotgun and left off a number of shots.

Mr McCarthy was hit and wounded in the arm, thigh, and right leg.

He said afterwards that it was “like being hit with a sledge hammer”.

The sentence was backdated to May 2015.

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