Gardaí seek public help after man shot dead


GARDAÍ INVESTIGATING the murder of a 30-year-old man in Co Tipperary early yesterday morning have appealed to the public for assistance as they try to trace a car used in the shooting.

Shane Rossiter, from Clonmel, was shot in the stomach when he went to answer a knock at the door of the house he was sharing with his girlfriend at Church Lane in Golden, near Cashel, at about 6.45am.

There were four other people in the house at the time – two men and two women – and they raised the alarm. Mr Rossiter was rushed by ambulance to South Tipperary General Hospital where he died a short time later.

Gardaí under Supt Nicholas McGrath of Tipperary town launched a full murder inquiry and the scene of the shooting was cordoned off to allow the Garda Technical Bureau carry out a full forensic examination of the scene.

It is understood that those who were in the house with Mr Rossiter at the time were too traumatised to make full witness statements to gardaí yesterday morning but gardaí expect to take full statements from them in the coming days.

Gardaí also began door-to-door inquiries in Golden to see if anyone had noticed any suspicious activity in the area either in the immediate run-up to the shooting yesterday or in the preceding days.

Local detectives also began examining CCTV footage and it is understood that gardaí will also examine mobile phone records in a bid to try to identify the killers of Mr Rossiter.

Gardaí are particularly anxious to speak to anyone who may have seen a four-door black saloon car which they believe was used by the two-man gang to carry out the shooting and which may have been seen around Golden yesterday morning.

State pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy carried out a postmortem on Mr Rossiter yesterday evening at Waterford Regional Hospital but gardaí were not disclosing her findings for operational reasons.

Mr Rossiter was known to gardaí and had served sentences for assault as well as drug dealing but local sources expressed surprise at the idea that he might be involved in organised crime as he was known to suffer from addiction problems.

According to one source, his problems worsened after the death of his younger brother Brian in 2002 and he began to get into trouble with gardaí while he also had a lucky escape in 2006 when he was present at another fatal shooting.

Mr Rossiter was present when Owen Cahill was shot dead at a house at Poulbay, Clonmel, on April 2nd, 2006, while his sister, Sharon, who was Mr Cahill’s partner, suffered an injury when she was struck by the gunman with the butt of a shotgun.

Mr Rossiter’s father Pat said yesterday that he did not know why his son had been killed. “I don’t have any idea why anything happened . . . we’re just trying to piece it together,” said Mr Rossiter at his home in Clonmel.

In a statement issued last night through Shane Rossiter’s uncle, Michael Keating, the family said they were “devastated and shocked by his tragic death” and were finding it hard to come to terms with what happened.

“To get that news this morning is just unbelievable really,” the family said. “He’ll be sadly missed by his family, his parents and brothers and sister. He has a wide circle of friends.”

The family appealed for privacy, saying they were not in a position to answer media queries.

Mr Keating described Mr Rossiter as “a happy-go-lucky chap” who was “very much at ease with his brothers and sisters” and “very family-oriented”. He enjoyed playing football when younger and “just liked having a good time, and wasn’t different to any other person in his age group”.

Family tragedy: Brother’s controversial death

SHANE ROSSITER’S brother Brian (right) died in 2002 aged 14 after he became ill in Garda custody in his native Clonmel.

Brian had been assaulted on Cashel Street in Clonmel on September 9th, 2002, and a day later he was arrested for a minor public order offence on Gladstone Street and taken to Clonmel Garda station.

However, gardaí could not rouse him the next morning when they went to his cell and he was taken to St Joseph’s Hospital in Clonmel but transferred to Cork University Hospital, where he died on September 13th.

A year later, gardaí charged local man Noel Hannigan with assault causing harm to Brian on Cashel Street on September 9th, 2002. The family’s solicitor, Cian O’Carroll, wrote to then minister for justice Michael McDowell and, in June 2005, after repeated lobbying by the Rossiter family, Mr McDowell ordered an inquiry into Brian’s death.

The inquiry, by senior counsel Hugh Hartnett, was published in April 2008 by then minister for justice Brian Lenihan and found Brian was unlawfully detained but found no evidence that he had been assaulted while in custody.

Hannigan was jailed for two and a half years for assault causing harm to Brian while Brian’s parents, Pat and Siobhan Rossiter, had also begun a High Court action against the State for “the wrongful death” of their son.

The case against the State was settled for €200,000 plus costs without any admission of liability by the State, with the settlement being approved by Mr Justice Richard Johnson in the High Court on December 19th, 2008.

It came just a week after an inquest at Cork City Coroner’s Court concluded when a jury returned an open verdict into Brian’s death in accordance with medical evidence that he had died from an extradural haemorrhage due to blunt force trauma to the head.