“I accept that the girl was shot but I’m not accepting Gavin done it,” Megan O’Connor said yesterday.
“If Gavin said he didn’t do it, I believe he didn’t do it, and I’m sure he would have told me the truth.
“In time to come, he should be forgiven. I’m not justifying nothing. He’s my boyfriend, of course I’m going to back him up even though it was in the wrong.
“He’s no angel. I know he done wrong and he’s after getting his time but I think it should be let go. You can’t help who you fall in love with. I’m going to wait for him.”
Her boyfriend Gavin Sheehan, 30, of 7 Laurel Ridge, Shanakiel, Cork, denied the four charges against him, arising out of the gun attack in Hollywood Estate in Cork on May 15 last year, in which Ciara Sheehan was shot in the neck.
He was found guilty last November, that at his home at Laurel Ridge on May 15 last he had a Smith and Wesson 60.96 semi-automatic firearm; discharging it being reckless as to whether any person was injured or not on Sunday, May 15, at Hollywood Estate; assault causing serious harm to Ciara Sheehan; and the related charge of having ammunition.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin sentenced him at Cork Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday to 14 years in jail, with three years of the sentence suspended.
The reporting of the sentencing sparked a torrent of online abuse directed through Facebook at the shooting victim, and at TV3’s southern correspondent, Paul Byrne. Ms O’Connor contacted the Opinion Line on Cork’s 96fm yesterday and in the course of an almost 40-minute live interview, admitted she had made certain online threats to Ciara Sheehan following the sentencing.
She apologised and said they were “made out of anger”.
“I only done it out of anger. I really am sorry for what I said. I shouldn’t have said it at all.
“All I was thinking of was my baby and was she ever going to see her dad again,” Ms O’Connor said.
“Nobody should have been shot, nobody deserves to be shot in the neck, that was a disgrace.
“My heart does go out to the girl. I have remorse for her. Gavin mightn’t have shown remorse but I do show remorse. I’m a very quiet girl; I just want to get on with my life.”
She told presenter PJ Coogan that she met Sheehan on Facebook several years ago, that they began dating a short time later, and that his 72 previous convictions — 14 of which were for serious violent crime — were of no concern to her at the time.
Asked if she regretted getting involved with him, she said: “No because everyone has previous convictions — I know loads of people with previous convictions — and they’re normal people. They might have 40 previous, 20, 30, doesn’t really matter how many previous convictions you have, it’s what they are is the more important thing. I don’t judge people by what they done in the past.”
She said Sheehan kept his “head down” during her pregnancy and that he planned to leave the “bad side of his life” behind him.
Their daughter is now 10 months old.
“He gave me a beautiful daughter that I’m going to love with all my heart,” she said.
“If I didn’t meet Gavin I wouldn’t have my beautiful daughter today,” she said.
Some of the comments in recent days made Sheehan out to be “worse than what he actually is,” she said.
“I would never disown Gavin, as much as he done wrong in his life, I love that boy with all my heart; he’s the father of my child,” she said.
“I realise that nobody will have sympathy for him. His real friends, and people that actually know Gavin, know he can be the nicest man you could ever come across and I know it’s hard to believe with what people are saying about him.”
She also rejected claims made in court by his barrister, who, acting under instructions, told the judge that Sheehan was a Garda informer for two years.
She added that the Irish prison authorities should have intercepted and prevented him posting a Christmas card from prison to Ciara Sheehan.
Gavin Sheehan, who was jailed on Tuesday, is under protection in the challenging behaviour unit of Cork Prison, and is isolated from the general prison population amid concerns for his safety.
The couple have spoken by phone since Tuesday’s sentencing and Ms O’Connor said she is looking forward to visiting him in prison on Monday.
“I miss him with all my heart. I told him I feel like you’re dead and I’m never again going to see you.”