Man charged after shotgun standoff in Clare

Thomas Howard (50) charged with false imprisonment and attempted robbery

Thomas Howard, Listowel, Co Kerry appearing at a special sitting of Ennis District Court on Saturday morning in relation to the false imprisonment of three people at Sixmilebridge on Thursday

Thomas Howard, Listowel, Co Kerry appearing at a special sitting of Ennis District Court on Saturday morning in relation to the false imprisonment of three people at Sixmilebridge on Thursday

 

A farm labourer told a Garda “I’m guilty” when charged with three counts of false imprisonment in the grounds of a country house at Sixmilebridge last Thursday.

At a special sitting of Ennis District Court on Saturday, Thomas Howard (50) appeared charged in relation to a two and a half hour stand-off, where he is alleged to have falsely imprisoned a father, his daughter and her boy-friend at Donnybrook Cottage, Sixmilebridge on July 2nd.

Mr Howard of Gortnaminch, Listowel, Co Kerry is also charged with having a shot-gun in his possession with intent to cause an indictable offence – robbery – contrary to Section 27B of the Firearms Act 1964.

At the brief hearing at Ennis courthouse, Garda Roddy Burke of Shannon Garda Station gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution of Mr Howard.

He said: “On Thursday, at 8.15pm, I arrested the accused at Donnybrook Cottage, Donnybrook, Sixmilebridge. I conveyed him to Shannon Garda Station and at 9.35pm on July 3rd, I charged him.”

Garda Burke said that in response to each charge after caution, Mr Howard replied, “I’m guilty.”

Mr Howard is charged with falsely imprisoning 70-year-old gardener Tadgh Corbett, his 27-year-old daughter Elaine Corbett and her 29-year-old boyfriend Declan Finn contrary to Section 15 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997.

Mr Howard, wearing a grey and blue striped polo shirt, jeans and runners, covered his head entering and exiting the court house yesterday.

A local councillor and friend of the Corbett family, Cllr Alan O’Callaghan (FF) on Friday lauded Mr Finn as “very brave” in his efforts to end the drama at Donnybrook Cottage.

In the incident, Mr Howard’s shotgun was discharged during a scuffle and no one suffered any injuries from the discharge.

In court yesterday, Supt Brendan McDonagh of Ennis Garda Station told Judge Marie Keane said: “I have spoken to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in relation to the charges. A file is to be forwarded to the DPP for consideration of further charges.”

Solicitor for Mr Howard, Stiofán Fitzpatrick said that there “is no application for bail at this juncture”.

Judge Keane granted legal aid for Mr Howard.

Mr Fitzpatrick said that he would like Mr Howard to get the appropriate medical treatment and assessment while in custody.

Judge Keane asked: “Are there issues there in relation to a psychiatric assessment?”

In reply, Mr Fitzpatrick told Judge Keane: “There are concerns there judge.”

In response, Judge Keane said: “I recommend that the appropriate medical treatment to include psychiatric assessment is carried out on Mr Howard.”

Judge Keane said that she would remand Mr Howard in custody to Ennis District Court to next Wednesday, July 8th.

Retired Shannon factory worker Mr Corbett was working on the garden of Donnybrook Cottage on Thursday in a role he performs for his elderly neighbours.

The owner of the house, who is in his 80s, was in the house throughout the drama but was unaware of what was unfolding outside in his garden.