Farmer shot friend after drinking two pints of whiskey, court told

Man, who pleaded guilty to assault causing harm, said gun ‘just went off’

Liam Flynn outside court in  Ennis, Co Clare.

Liam Flynn outside court in Ennis, Co Clare.

 

A 53-year-old East Clare farmer blasted his best friend with a double-barrelled shotgun at close range after telling him “you’re a f**king tout for the gardaí”, a court has heard.

At Ennis Circuit Court, Liam Flynn (53) pleaded guilty to assault causing harm of Noel Enright (41) at his farmhouse at Afflick, Tulla, on January 28th, 2015.

Counsel for Mr Flynn, Lorcan Connolly BL said his client shot his “great pal” Mr Enright in the left upper thigh after Mr Flynn had drank “two pints of whiskey” at his farmhouse.

The two friends used to meet up regularly and Mr Enright used to stay at Mr Flynn’s home at least once a week where they would consume “volumes” of alcohol and watch their favourite TV show, Sons of Anarchy, a drama around a US gang of outlaw bikers.

Mr Connolly told Judge Gerard Keys: “The goings on in the house that night could have been taken out of the Sons of Anarchy, the favourite show of the two gentlemen.”

Mr Connolly said that Garda witnesses in the case who arrived at the house after 2.15 am found a blood-soaked Mr Enright on the couch with blood and flesh splattered on the wall behind him.

Holy water

Mr Connolly said that while recovering in hospital from the shotgun blast, Mr Flynn brought Mr Enright a holy statue, a prayer book and holy water.

The barrister said that two days before the events on January 27th-28th, the two had gone to the cathedral in Ennis to be present at Bishop Kieran O’Reilly’s last mass in the diocese. With them was Mr Enright’s girlfriend, Taci.

In the case, the two men offered conflicting accounts of what occurred on the night. In his statement to gardaí, Mr Enright said: “I remember Liam saying to me ‘do you know that girl, Taci you are seeing? She is a spy’.”

He said: “At that I started roaring laughing and Liam jumped up and pulled out his gun and put his gun to shoulder level and said ‘you are a f**king tout for the gardaí’ and Bang! he shot me. I was sitting on the couch.”

He added: “The next thing I remember a nurse saying to me in hospital telling me that I was shot. I couldn’t believe it.”

‘Best friend for years’

Mr Flynn told gardaí at the scene that Mr Enright was his “best friend for years and it [the gun] just went off”. Mr Flynn said that the two had been playing with a toy gun and that Noel said “why don’t you bring up the real thing?”

He said: “I brought it up. I had it in my hands. I tapped him on the knee with the barrel. It just went off – it was a pure accident.”

Garda Iomar McClearn agreed with Mr Connolly that both recollections of what occurred are not reliable because of the level of alcohol consumed.

Mr Connolly said Mr Flynn had drank two pints of whiskey and a half bottle of a liqueur while Mr Enright had drank a lot of red wine on the night along with smoking some weed.

100 pellets

Mr Enright was rushed to hospital in Limerick where he underwent a number of surgeries for the wound where more than 100 pellets were found.

Mr Connolly said his client who is unable to work due to a disability and has sold property to offer €20,000 in compensation to Mr Enright.

In his victim impact statement, Mr Enright – who was not in court – of Corebeg, Doora, Clarecastle said that he has been left with life-changing injuries and permanent damage.He had to give up his job as a plumber because of the injuries and now works in a general operative role with 50 per cent less pay.

The judge adjourned the case to Thursday to fix a date for sentence.