Limerick man feared his for life if he talked to gardaí, court hears

The Special Criminal Court has heard that a Limerick man feared his life would become “hell” if he made a statement to gardaí alleging a threat made against the life of his father and sister.

The Special Criminal Court has heard that a Limerick man feared his life would become “hell” if he made a statement to gardaí alleging a threat made against the life of his father and sister.

Michael Bridgeman (aged 51) of Glenview, Ballyneety, Co Limerick, has denied making a threat to Mark Heffernan (aged 28) to kill or cause serious harm to his father Mark Heffernan Sr (aged 47) at John Carew Park on a date unknown between September 1, 2008 and October 25, 2008.

Bridgeman has also denied demanding money with menaces from Mark Heffernan Jr on a date unknown between September 1 and October 25, 2008 at the same address.

Mr Heffernan told counsel for the prosecution, Mr Paul McDermott SC, that he believed he could not make a complaint against Bridgeman and three other men who called to his house because if he did so his life would become “hell”.

He said that he took time to consider making a complaint because he believed people who did so no longer had a life and that other individuals in Limerick city “would not stop” once they learned of a complaint made to gardaí.

The events-promoter yesterday told the court that he made a complaint to Roxboro garda station within a few days of the alleged threat made by Bridgeman.

However, he today told counsel for the defence, Mr Brendan Grehan SC, that he had become “mixed-up” with previous complaints made to gardaí and in fact did not contact Roxboro garda station until February 12, 2009.

Mr Heffernan agreed with Mr Grehan that he made his first written statement to gardaí of the alleged threat against his father and sister on March 6, 2010, 18 months after the alleged incident.

Detective Sergeant Kevin Swan also gave evidence that Mr Heffernan complained to Roxboro garda station on February 12, 2009.

He said that although Mr Heffernan told gardaí that his life was under threat from members of the McCarthy-Dundon gang and was in a “very frightened state”, he made no mention of any threat made by Michael Bridgeman against the life of his father or sister.

The court heard that problems arose between the two men after Bridgeman invested in a nightclub venture – known as West – which Mr Heffernan had established in Newcastle West.

Although the nightclub enjoyed initial success, within weeks of the opening night the relationship between the two men had broken down completely.

Mr Heffernan told the court that Bridgeman called to his home in John Carew Park in the company of three other men and told him he “could have had” Mr Heffernan’s father shot and his sister “done”.

The trial continues at the non-jury court, with Mr Justice Paul Butler presiding.

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