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Limerick man who pulled revolver on two children gets suspended sentence

Denis O’Keeffe told gardaí he was refurbishing the weapon for a person involved in the notorious Limerick gangland feud.

Limerick courthouse.
Limerick courthouse.
Image: Google Maps

A LIMERICK GRANDFATHER who pulled a gun on two youths in a chipper was jailed today for four years with two years suspended.

Denis O’Keeffe told gardaí he was refurbishing the weapon for a person involved in the notorious Limerick gangland feud, Limerick Circuit Court had heard.

O’Keeffe, a former weapons instructor with the Defence Forces, of Ballynanty Road, Limerick, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of ‘a Webley six shooter’ revolver, at his house on 3 November 2015.

O’Keeffe (53) was captured on CCTV cameras at Freda’s take-away, Ballynanty, pulling the gun on two young boys, aged 10 and 11.

The two terrified youths ran away in fear for their lives, Limerick Circuit Court heard.

O’Keeffe said he brought the gun to his local chipper because he didn’t want any of his children to come across it at home.

Detective Garda Fergal Hanrahan from Mayorstone garda station confirmed the “British-made, six-shot revolver” was in “poor condition” and was not loaded.

However, he added that O’Keeffe had attempted to refurbish the weapon.

An expert garda trained in ballistics successfully tested the weapon using rounds of .45 mm calibre ammunition, the court heard.

O’Keeffe spent 12 years as a member of the Defence Forces where he had gained expertise as a weapons training instructor, it was heard.

Interviews

During interviews with gardaí, O’Keeffe gave various explanations for having the gun.

He told gardaí he pulled the firearm on the two youths in the take-away because they had been slagging him about his deceased son who the court heard had previously died from a heroin overdose.

O’Keffee told gardaí:

I pulled out the gun and told them to fuck off. They are bold little c***s… They were slagging me.

He initially told gardaí he had been holding onto the gun “in memory of his son”, but later said he had it to protect himself and his family.

In another interview with officers, O’Keeffe said he had been “approached by a known member of the Limerick feud” who asked him if he could fix a gun for them.

He told gardaí he was to be paid €4,500 to fix the gun, but later said he would be paid €500. He also told gardai he was “€1,000 out of pocket” in order to pay the third-party back for the loss of the gun.

Law into his own hands

O’Keeffe, who had a number of previous convictions for minor road traffic and public order offences, told gardaí he was willing to take the law into his own hands to protect his family, the court heard.

He said he had been cleaning the gun with “oil and cotton buds”.

Detective Hanrahan said gardaí were most concerned because they were not satisfied as to the reason why O’Keeffe had the gun.

Brian McInerney, BL, defending, described the “World War I type gun” as “a rusty old piece of metal”, and that it bore no resemblance to modern guns used today.

“We’ve had our fair share of it in (Limerick) city, but in the criminal world, things have moved on to the Glock pistol,” he added.

Judge Tom O’Donnell responded:

This is a gun, and a gun is a gun, whether it’s a musket from the 1691 siege of Limerick or one that garda ballistics experts have said is a firearm.

The judge said people having any type of illegal firearm was “unacceptable”.

Read: Eric Locke appealing life sentence for murdering Sonia Blount

Read: Limerick man attacked and sexually assaulted his elderly neighbour

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David Raleigh

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