Father of slain son jailed for six years over loaded pistol found in car
A Dublin man charged over the seizure of a firearm after the murder of his son told gardaí after his arrest: “Had you given me another hour, I would have killed the b*****d that killed him.”
Stephen Little (47) was yesterday jailed for six years by the Special Criminal Court.
Little, of Kilbarron Avenue, Kilmore, Dublin, had pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a Grand Power G9 semi- automatic pistol at Lein Park, Harmonstown, Dublin, on September 14, 2019.
His son, Sean Little (22), was found shot dead beside a burning car near Balbriggan off the M1 in Dublin on May 21, 2019.
The non-jury court previously heard that had Little not made these comments to gardaí, the case against him would have been weaker and he may not have been charged.
Co-accused Edward McDonnell (56), of Waterside Apartments, New Ross, Co Wexford, was sentenced to nine years for unlawful possession of the semi-automatic weapon at the same date and location.
The two men, who were both remanded in custody before yesterday’s hearing, exchanged a fist-bump before their sentencing. Both men had been originally charged with having the weapon with intent to endanger life.
The two were jailed for possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances, an offence under Section 27A (1) of the Firearms Act.
The court heard during the sentence hearing that gardaí found a loaded handgun under the passenger seat of an Audi car on the day, before McDonnell was forcibly removed from the vehicle by gardaí.
Little had driven McDonnell to the scene.
A number of items, including two baseball caps, two balaclavas and some gloves, fell from McDonnell’s lap upon arrest and a red petrol can containing liquid as well as a long-handled lighter were also found in the vehicle.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt said the headline sentence for such an offence was 14 years with a minimum of five years’ imprisonment.
He said that he agreed with Michael Bowman SC, for McDonnell, in assessing the offence to be in the middle range and said the headline sentence, before mitigation, was 10 years.
Mr Justice Hunt said the case was one of “intended lethality”, which was only avoided by garda intervention.
Regarding Little, Mr Justice Hunt said that the accused’s motivation was the murder of his son and that it had been accepted that Little was not the man who would pull the trigger.
The judge said that Little had no previous convictions, barring a road traffic offence, and there were positive personal testimonials before the court on his behalf.
The judge said Little had been through personal and medical difficulties, which lessened his culpability, and the court would reduce the headline sentence to eight years. Mr Justice Hunt further discounted the sentence by 25pc on account of early guilty plea.
He sentenced Little to six years’ imprisonment and backdated it to 21 December, 2019, when he was first taken into custody on the matter.
Regarding McDonnell, Mr Justice Hunt said his motivation for possessing the weapon “still remains opaque” and noted it was unclear whether or not McDonnell was to be a gunman or a driver, due to the two sets of clothing found in his possession.
McDonnell was sentenced to nine years.