A chilling campaign of fear and intimidation

HE literally gave two fingers to the justice system — his murder trial collapsing after six key witnesses withdrew their evidence — but yesterday, it was one the witnesses who faced imprisonment.

Limerick’s “notorious and infamous” Keane gang waged a chilling campaign of fear and intimidation against Amanda McNamara, a 22-year-old single mother of one, forcing her to withdraw a statement in which she described in detail:

How Liam Keane stabbed 18-year-old Eric Leamy to death in August 2001.

The type of knife Keane used in the attack.

How Keane kept saying to Eric Leamy ‘come on, come on’.

Gangland figure Liam Keane walked free from court in November 2003 after six witnesses suffered what the judge described as “collective amnesia”.

Yesterday, Limerick Circuit Court adjourned sentencing against Ms McNamara who admits committing perjury in the case.

Ms McNamara, the mother of a one-year-old boy, changed her evidence because:

She was repeatedly intimidated by Liam Keane who would stare at her at her place of work and call her a rat.

Her father, Clement, was given instructions by crime boss Kieran Keane, the day after the murder, about what Amanda should say. “You make sure, she says nothing,” he said.

Ms McNamara told the 2004 murder trial that she couldn’t stand over her original statement, and that she couldn’t remember anything about the killing because she was so high on drink and drugs. She now admits this was a lie.

“I was just scared and did not know what to do,” she said yesterday.

After the trial, Ms McNamara had to move away from her family home in St Mary’s Park and she now lives outside the city.

Kieran Keane was shot dead in January 2003 in an unrelated murder.

Ms McNamara and another of the six State witnesses were charged with perjury after the murder trial of Liam Keane collapsed, while a third witness was charged with contempt of court.

Supt John Scanlon told the court yesterday that Ms McNamara’s evidence would have been “compelling” given that she was a direct eyewitness.

State prosecutor John O’Sullivan BL said Eric Leamy’s parents felt aggrieved at the outcome of the Keane case.

The court heard Ms McNamara had got a good Leaving Cert and had no convictions. She was a member of the FCA and Red Cross and in full-time employment. Defence counsel John Edwards SC said: “These Keanes are infamous and notorious ... She would naturally be afraid of these people.”

Judge Moran adjourned the case to the Easter sittings to deal first with two other cases arising from the collapse of the Keane trial.

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