Man fled country after witnessing fatal shooting, court hears

A Dublin man fled the country in fear of his life after he witnessed the fatal shooting of another man more than six years ago the Central Criminal Court heard today.

A Dublin man fled the country in fear of his life after he witnessed the fatal shooting of another man more than six years ago the Central Criminal Court heard today.

John O’Hanlon (aged 45) of Millwood, Kilbarrack, Co. Dublin had pleaded guilty to the withholding of information in relation to the murder of Paul Ryan (aged 27) of Grangemore Lawns, Donaghmede, Dublin who was shot in the head on April 12, 2003 near Birr, Co Offaly.

Mr O'Hanlon withheld information between April 12, 2003 and June 6, 2007.

The court heard that on April 12, 2003 Mr O’Hanlon was travelling in a car to Birr, Co. Offaly with Mr Ryan and a third man.

Mr O'Hanlon and Mr Ryan got out of the car, which had pulled up on the side of the road near Birr Co Offaly, and were standing beside each other when the third man shot Mr Ryan in the head.

In fear of his life Mr O'Hanlon fled the scene and travelled to Co Derry, London and then Amsterdam.

Det Sgt Dermot Drea of Birr garda station, said gardaí were satisfied Mr O’Hanlon had no knowledge of the third man's intentions.

The court heard that while in Amsterdam Mr O’Hanlon was arrested and in custody told Dutch authorities that he might have information in relation to a murder.

The Dutch authorities informed gardaí who flew to Amsterdam in December 2004, to interview Mr O’Hanlon in relation to the murder of Paul Ryan.

In June 2007, Mr O'Hanlon returned to Dublin having completed a two-year sentence in Amsterdam.

On June 4, 2007 he went to visit the grave of his mother who died in 2005 while Mr O'Hanlon was in prison.

Mr O'Hanlon then went to Ballbriggan garda station in a drunken state shouting that gardaí wanted to talk to him in relation to a murder in Co Offaly years ago.

He was arrested for breaching the peace and while in detention was interviewed by gardaí and told them what he had witnessed in relation to the murder.

Det Sgt Drea told the court that Mr O'Hanlon was currently serving a six year prison sentence for a firearm-related offence.

He said Mr O'Hanlon had a long history of criminal convictions dating from 1981 which included numerous convictions for theft-related offences and malicious damage of property.

Det Sgt Drea said Mr O'Hanlon had a history of drug abuse and addiction and that the shooting had a traumatic impact on him.

Mr Justice Paul Carney remanded Mr O'Hanlon in custody adjourning sentencing until next Friday.

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