Man accused of murder pleads guilty to disposing of firearm

Lorcan Merriman to be sentenced in January when murder charge will be dropped, court told

A murder trial jury has been discharged after the accused pleaded guilty to disposing of the firearm that was used in the fatal shooting of Dublin man Thomas Farnan.

Lorcan Merriman went on trial accused of Mr Farnan's murder on October 28th and had pleaded not guilty to the offence.

On Thursday, however, the 11th day of the trial, Merriman was arraigned on a charge under Section 7 of the Criminal Law Act of impeding the apprehension of an offender by disposing of the firearm that was used to shoot Mr Farnan.

He pleaded guilty and the court will hold a sentence hearing on January 24th next year.


Mr Justice David Keane discharged the jury and heard that the State intends to enter a "nolle prosequi", officially removing the murder charge, on the day of the sentence hearing.

Merriman is 25 years old and has an address at Lealand Close, Clondalkin, Dublin 22. Mr Farnan (37) was shot dead at his front door at Kilcronan Close, Clondalkin on April 25, 2016. He died almost immediately.

The trial heard from Mr Farnan's partner Elaine Heffernan, who told prosecution counsel Roisin Lacey SC that she heard three gentle taps on the letterbox at about 11.20pm and presumed it was a neighbour who would often call in looking for a cigarette.

She was in the bedroom and had just entered the hall when she heard Mr Farnan turn the lock in the door followed immediately by a loud bang and the sound of glass shattering.

“It happened in a split second,” she said, before Mr Farnan had even opened the door.

“Thomas was still standing with his hand on the handle of the door but he wasn’t answering me and then he started slowly sliding down and I put my hands under his arms to stop him falling and I was still talking to him but he wasn’t answering me,” she said.

“I just kept screaming at Tom, ‘what is it, what is it’ but he wasn’t answering me.”

She began to panic as she saw blood but couldn’t see where it was coming from. Mr Farnan’s face turned grey, she said, and a neighbour arrived, checked his pulse, and said: “He’s gone.” Paramedics arrived and confirmed that Mr Farnan had died.

Chief State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan told Ms Lacey that Mr Farnan was shot at least five times resulting in nine separate injuries. A single bullet that travelled through his right arm, chest and heart caused his death with further injuries to the abdomen, left elbow and pelvis contributing to death.

Detective Garda Lynn Johnson of the ballistics section of the Garda Technical Bureau told Ms Lacey that she attended the scene of the shooting and found five discharged gunshot cartridges outside Mr Farnan's home and one inside.

The front door was damaged in three places and glass was shattered on the ground. She also found three bullets inside the house. All bullets and cartridges were 9mm calibre and of the same make, she said.

Mr Justice David Keane remanded Merriman in custody until the sentence hearing next year.