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Sunday 17 December 2017

Biker blasted innocent rival club member to death in revenge attack

Alan McNamara murdered Andrew O’Donoghue
Alan McNamara murdered Andrew O’Donoghue

A biker who shot dead a member of a rival motorcycle club will be sentenced to life in prison in October after being found guilty of murder.

Alan 'Cookie' McNamara, (51), of Mountfune, Murroe, Co Limerick, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Andrew 'AOD' O'Donoghue at the gates of the Road Tramps club at Mountfune on June 20, 2015.

The jury delivered a unanimous verdict to the Central Criminal Court yesterday.

The seven men and four women had been asked to dec-ide if the accused was acting in defence of himself and his family or in retaliation, after he was assaulted and threatened.

Terrified

The trial heard that McNamara, a member of the Caballeros motorcycle club, was assaulted at a pub in Doon in Limerick by members of the Road Tramps the day before the shooting. Doon was considered Road Tramps territory.

One of the Road Tramps punched McNamara in the face and one of them took his waistcoat, which had a Caballeros patch sewn into the back. Another held back his wife.

Three Road Tramps later pulled up to his house in a car and, in front of his wife and children, threatened to kill him and burn down his home, leaving him terrified, McNamara claimed.

He received a phone call the following day from his stepson, Robert Cusack, who told him that he was in a car with two other Caballeros following a Road Tramp, he said.

McNamara loaded a shotgun, got into his car and drove to the Road Tramps' clubhouse, where he claimed he thought Mr O'Donoghue was holding a gun, so he shot him.

Cusack (28), of Abington, Murroe, Co Limerick, had gone on trial with his stepfather, having pleaded not guilty to impeding McNamara's apprehension. However, he changed his plea to guilty during the trial and will be sentenced later.

The prosecution said the shooting "evolved out of acts which were revengeful or retaliatory", that McNamara had seen an opportunity for retribution and had murdered an innocent man.

The prosecution said it did not stand over the attack at Doon, the alleged threats or the presence of "an arsenal of weapons" at the Road Tramps' clubhouse.

However, barrister Michael Delaney said in his closing speech: "You are not entitled to take the law into your own hands and shoot an innocent man."

There was no evidence that Mr O'Donoghue had been involved in any of the incidents leading up to the shooting, he noted.

The whole event happened very quickly and the accused felt there was a threat to him and his family, the defence said.

McNamara had claimed to be "out of my mind" and in a panic on the morning of the shooting.

He had been attacked and then threatened by three men, one of them waving a gun, said Hugh Hartnett, defending.

"Would that have an effect on the mind of an average man?" he asked in his closing speech.

McNamara knew what the Road Tramps were capable of, he added, reminding the jury of the weapons found at their clubhouse and that one member, Kevin Ryan, had a conviction for a firearms offence.

React

Jury members were told by Mr Justice Paul McDermott that they had to examine the accused man's state of mind and ask: "What did he honestly believe at the time?"

He said to think about the manner of the shooting and the events leading up to it - why the accused came to be there with a loaded shotgun and whether Mr O'Donoghue did anything other than point towards him.

The jury reached a unanimous verdict of guilty of murder following two hours and 43 minutes of deliberating.

McNamara, who walks with sticks, did not react when the registrar read the verdict.

Mr Justice McDermott remanded McNamara in custody for sentencing on October 27.

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