Former VFI President fires shots in raid on pub
Former VFI President Gerry Mellett had an unnerving experience recently when he had to discharge a shotgun over the heads of four raiders to his Ardattin Inn in Mountmellick.
23 April 2013 | 0
“If I didn’t shoot, I wouldn’t be here talking to you,” he told the Carlow Nationalist recently, “That night I had to defend myself and my property.”
Gerry and his wife Margaret were having a cup of tea just after 1pm when the dogs started barking and Margaret heard loud banging.
“There was a lot of banging and shouting and roaring,” said Gerry, who went to investigate only to find that four raiders had got into his shop and pub premises by breaking down a set of double doors with a sledgehammer.
“They broke down the reinforced doors,” Gerry told Drinks Industry Ireland, “These guys would have got through cement walls.”
According to The Nationalist, Gerry had come face-to-face with four violent balaclava-clad raiders armed with a pickaxe and sledgehammer. The 58-year-old felt compelled to act to protect his family and his property, he said.
Having taken the cash from the shop till the raiders tore a cigarette machine off the wall and set about bursting it open in the brightly-lit car park.
Gerry decided to load his shotgun and called the Gardai.
“The four fellas were outside in the car park and they were doing a dance on the cigarette machine with the sledgehammer and pickaxe,” he explained.
Then one of the raiders spotted him and ran at him from across the car park wielding a pickaxe.
“I’ve no doubt I would have been killed,” believes Gerry who fired his shotgun above the man’s head, “I wouldn’t be talking to you today if I hadn’t shot; I’d have been killed. He was like a lunatic.”
“I didn’t know if one of them had a gun,” he added, “But I wasn’t looking for a fight … He ran across the car park at me. In 13 years, I’ve never been put in a situation like this before. These guys are thugs; they didn’t come to wish me good luck.”
However despite bettering the raiders, that night continues to haunt him.
“It’s amazing, really. I wasn’t frightened at the time and you’d think you would be, but it affected me the following day and over the weekend.”
Following the shots being discharged, the men jumped into a black Volvo and drove off leaving considerable destruction in their wake.
Gardaí are currently investigating.
To Gerry, it serves as a warning to all publicans.
“It can happen to any of us,” he told Drinks Industry Ireland, “It concentrates your mind in relation to security…. We were lucky.”