herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Taxi gunman had returned from holiday before attack

THE gunman who tried to kill two gardai before blasting himself to death had just returned from a two-week holiday in Lanzarote.

Taxi driver Anthony McMahon (44) relaxed in the sun before he embarked on his deranged spree.

Two gardai were lucky to escape with their lives after they flagged down McMahon's car and were shot at.

The father of one was troubled by recent personal events, it is believed.

He was described as an "ordinary, unremarkable" sort of chap, who was devoted to his 14-year-old son.

In recent days before Monday night's tragic events in Newport, Co Tipperary, he had spent time with the teenager.

However, gardai are still puzzled as to where McMahon was going, with two loaded guns , when he was stopped by Garda Gerry Brassil and Sgt Deborah Marsh.

Carpet

A neighbour of the dead man claimed his taxi was written off following a crash before Christmas, while another blamed the downturn in carpet sales -- he was also a carpet fitter.

"Taxi driving was his liveli-hood. He was a carpet fitter as well but no one is buying carpets right now," the neighbour added.

Mr McMahon moved to a rundown three-bed property two years ago in a remote location outside the Tipperary village of Rearcross.

Mattresses and bed frames were stacked against the windows in the interior of the house, while the grounds were unkempt.

The neighbour added: "He was an ordinary kind of guy.

"Very quiet but something was obviously wrong with him.

"People here are very shocked at the way his life ended."

Praise

According to locals, keen huntsman Mr McMahon was "one of the best shooters around" who loved the outdoors.

"He went shooting every Wednesday. He had one gun for shooting birds and the other for shooting animals. His son went everywhere with him I'm told. It's very sad. The poor, poor man," another local said.

An investigation by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission continues after McMahon took his own life.

There has been praise for the response of the two unarmed officers who escaped without serious physical injuries.

Residents in Newport and colleagues of Garda Brassil and Sgt Marsh fear there could have been more than one fatality near the local GAA pitch had it not been for their quick actions.

McMahon was signalled to stop by gardai as he approached Newport on the Thurles road after they received a report about a motorist driving in an erratic fashion.

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