Killer pulled from fire is arrested as shotgun rounds found in bag
A convicted killer who was dragged from a house fire in Kildare was later arrested in relation to a discovery of ammunition that may have been linked to a shooting in Meath.
Stephen Penrose (34), who had just completed a jail term for manslaughter, was being questioned at Leixlip Garda Station after a night of mayhem that began in Dunboyne, Co Meath, at the weekend.
Sources revealed that gardai are investigating whether Penrose was the gunman responsible for an attack at 11.30pm on Sunday in which two homes in the Woodview Heights estate, Dunboyne, were shot at with a shotgun.
Luckily no one was hurt in the reckless gun attack. However, a garda alert was issued with details of the car that was seen fleeing the scene.
It has emerged that this car was then spotted by officers who were responding to a fire at a house in Clonuff, Broadford, Co Kildare, at around 12.45am yesterday.
When gardai arrived at the house with the fire brigade where Penrose and a female associate had been saved by a neighbour, the pair were suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.
After seeing the car that was allegedly used in the earlier gun attack, officers became suspicious and searched a bag that Penrose had in his possession, which contained a number of shotgun cartridges.
Penrose and the woman were brought to Mullingar General Hospital in Co Westmeath for treatment for their injuries.
However, after being discharged yesterday morning the couple were immediately arrested and they remained in garda custody last night.
Sources said that gardai’s main theory is that the fire was started in the front room of the Co Kildare house by a “third party” and that petrol had been used to start it.
Gardai are still trying to confirm a link between the fire and the earlier gun attack.
Another theory is that Penrose may have accidentally started the fire himself.
Penrose was only released from jail in February after he served a nine-year stretch for the manslaughter of Dublin man David Sharkey, whose body was found in the boot of his own car in Finglas in May, 2009.
Mr Sharkey was stabbed 13 times while delivering heroin to an apartment in Navan, Co Meath, and Penrose’s murder trial heard that the killer had only planned to rob Mr Sharkey, but he had bought a knife earlier that day.
Penrose told the jury that he had only planned to steal heroin but the plan went wrong after Mr Sharkey took out a knife and demanded his drugs back.
He stabbed Mr Sharkey 13 times on the stairwell of an apartment at Parkview, Blackcastle in Navan, on the evening of May 17, 2009.
During the trial, the court heard that Penrose admitted to gardai to texting the dead man’s partner, Joleen Smyth, from Mr Sharkey’s mobile phone after he had killed him.
Sources have revealed that Penrose had been living in Ashbourne, Co Meath, for a number of weeks after his release.
Jail sources revealed that Penrose had a “poor disciplinary record” while serving his sentence and was regularly moved from prison to prison across the country while doing his time.
He had got over 30 ‘P-19’ prison reports for breaches of discipline, which included threatening staff and other inmates, possession of weapons as well as fighting and being verbally abusive.
Meanwhile, the shotgun which was used in Sunday night’s gun attack has not yet been recovered.