Man fired shots at home of mother of three, court hears

ireland
Man Fired Shots At Home Of Mother Of Three, Court Hears Man Fired Shots At Home Of Mother Of Three, Court Hears
Paul Byrne (36) pleaded guilty to reckless discharge of a firearm at Cushlawn Park, Tallaght on April 25th, 2019. Photo: PA Images
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Declan Brennan

A man who told Gardaí he was trying to harm himself after he fired shots at the home of a mother of three has been jailed for two years.

Paul Byrne (36) discharged a number of shots from a sawn-off, double-barrelled shotgun outside the young woman's home at Cushlawn Park, Tallaght, Dublin on the night of April 25th, 2019.

The woman's young son had just gone out the back of the house, causing her to panic when she heard the shots, fearing somebody was shooting at her son.

When the boy reappeared safely, she looked out the front of the house and saw a man stumbling around. She called 999 and Gardaí arrived at the scene where they found the shotgun, a Halloween mask, a trail of blood and a car key.

The key was for a car parked around the corner which was registered to Byrne's then partner. Gardaí later questioned this woman, who told them Byrne was using the car on the night.

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Gardaí went to Byrne's home at Donomore Crescent in Jobstown, Tallaght, and his mother told them he was missing. A few weeks later, he walked into Tallaght Garda station.

'Utterly implausible'

In a prepared statement, Byrne told Gardaí he found the gun and had it for the purpose of harming himself.

He said he had a row with his partner prior to the incident and came up with the plan to shoot himself in the head in a field behind Cushlawn. Byrne subsequently pleaded guilty to reckless discharge of a firearm.

Judge Melanie Greally said Byrne's explanation was “a most bizarre and inventive and utterly implausible account of what he was doing”.

She said she accepted submissions from his defending lawyers that Byrne had a history of alcohol abuse and depression, but said his actions on the night were “not consistent with a suicide attempt”.

Kathleen Leader SC, defending, told the court her client has a history of cocaine and alcohol addiction. Byrne has no previous convictions.

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Noting evidence of damage to the building close to the upstairs window, Judge Greally said Byrne's actions exposed a young family to significant danger.

She noted his history of prolonged mental health difficulties and the positive character references from family and friends, suspending the final year of a three-year prison term.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can freephone the Samaritans 24 hours a day for confidential support at 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org.

You can also freephone the national Bereavement Support Line run by the HSE and Irish Hospice Foundation at 1800 80 70 77 (Monday-Friday 10am-1pm), and the contact information for a range of mental health supports is available at mentalhealthireland.ie/get-support/. In the case of an emergency, or if you or someone you know is at risk of suicide or self-harm, dial 999/112.

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