Mobility scooter man armed himself with shotgun and threatened to murder neighbours
Man with life-threatening health issues tells how he intended to commit a murder-suicide with his shotgun after being falsely branded a paedophile by locals
A MAN who armed himself with a shotgun and wrapped a bandolier full of ammunition around his waist as he sat outside his home on a mobility scooter threatening to shoot his neighbours said he planned a murder-suicide after he was falsely labelled a paedophile.
William Collins (51) from Tuairin Alainn, Castlemartyr, Co. Cork, left his neighbours terrified after the alarming incident.
But Collins told the Sunday World this week he no longer poses any threat and now just wants a quiet life after he avoided jail when he was given a three-year suspended sentence at Cork Circuit Court.
Collins, who has significant life-threatening health issues and needs a walking frame and mobility scooter to get around, said he "just snapped" before grabbing his gun on August 27 last year.
He told the Sunday World he had 123 shotgun cartridges in his house and placed 25 cartridges in a bandolier around his waist.
"It was going to be a murder- suicide," he said.
He said there was a significant Garda response to the incident, with armed officers rushing to the scene.
"There were more guards here than you'd see at an All-Ireland final. You'd swear it was Daniel Kinahan living here with me."
He told how he moved into a specially adapted house in the estate nine months before the incident and, while he got on with most of his neighbours, there were a couple of households who he didn't get on with.
He said he had contacted gardai before the incident to say people were making false claims that he was a paedophile.
"They said they couldn't do anything about it as it was a civil matter, but the minute the shotgun was mentioned the guards were here," he said.
On the day of the incident, Collins spotted one of the people who, he claims, had previously been taunting him.
"I gave him the [middle] finger like that. I said 'are you going to come down and sort it?' He called me a paedophile."
Gardai told Cork Circuit Court that there was absolutely no substance to the paedophile claims being made against Collins and the majority of neighbours in the estate had no such concerns about him.
He told the Sunday World he had been upset about the slurs and snapped.
"I asked if he had a problem," he said. "They accused me of being a paedophile. I took out my shotgun then, which I was selling to a guy in Youghal."
Collins then sat outside his house on his mobility scooter and told other neighbours he was going to kill the people he had fallen out with and then kill himself.
"I had the bandolier around my waist with more cartridges."
Another neighbour contacted gardai, and also convinced Collins to put down the weapon.
"I was standing up for my own name," he said.
Asked if he was serious about his threats, he said: "Yeah that was there too. All I say is like I told the guards, it's like a film - you can't plan the ending or this or that or what's going to happen. I was driven to it."
By the time gardai had arrived, Collins had put the gun back inside his house.
However, he told gardai that he had been planning to shoot his neighbours.
"They held me here at the gate on my mobility scooter while they went into the house," he said.
"They searched the whole place and got the gun and ammunition. I had all that gathered. I had 123 cartridges. When I'd go to town I'd buy a box. I used to do clay pigeon shooting."
The gun was seized and Collins no longer has access to any firearms.
In their victim impact statements, the neighbours threatened by Collins said the incident had a major impact on them and, while they were reassured he no longer had access to firearms, the incident left them fearful.
A Probation report said Collins was at high risk of reoffending and saw himself as the victim in the incident.
However, Judge Helen Boyle said she disagreed with the risk assessment due to Collins's significant life-threatening and mobility-limiting health issues and the fact he no longer had access to firearms.
She handed down a three-year suspended sentence.
Collins told the Sunday World he no longer had any intention to harm his neighbours.
"No. A quiet life is all I want. [Other] neighbours here are 100 per cent behind me. The neighbours said they were glad to see me back. They welcomed me back. I'm just keeping to myself now and doing my own thing closing the gate and closing the door. A quiet life is all I want."
He said he doesn't plan to move out of the house as he was waiting 10 years to get a house specially adapted to his needs and has spent thousands more on it since moving in.
He said he was very grateful to receive a suspended sentence, as he he doesn't think he would have been able to cope in prison.
"It's a happy ending. I'll stay quiet here."
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