Patrick 'Patsy' Adams jailed for shooting 'grass'

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A notorious crime family member who shot an associate he had apparently accused of being a "grass" has been jailed for nine years.

Patrick "Patsy" Adams, 60, one of the Adams family, shot Paul Tiernan in Islington, north London, on December 22 2013 with a .45 calibre pistol.

Woolwich Crown Court heard the pair were long-time associates who lived by the "same code" and days before the shooting the victim had complained that Adams called him a "grass".

Police who searched Adams's flat in the days after the shooting found a handwritten note from Mr Tiernan, 54, which said "I ain't no f****** grass" and urged his former friend to "face me".

Adams later fled abroad with his wife Constance, 56, before the pair were extradited from the Netherlands on a European arrest warrant last October.

The defendant admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent on Monday, as the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence on a charge of attempted murder.

As he entered the dock on Friday, Adams, wearing a light grey jumper and glasses, nodded towards his family in the public gallery.

Sentencing him, Judge Christopher Kinch said: "It was Patrick Adams who chose to make use of the loaded firearm when it was in his hands.

"That was a momentous decision.

"You are a man who has had some experience with firearms and have some understanding of their power.

"You took steps to dispose of evidence in this case, including the weapon.

"You also made sustained efforts to evade arrest, leaving the country and seeking refuge in the Netherlands."

Father-of-three Adams had been out walking with his wife near their home in Percival Street, Finsbury, north London, on the morning of the shooting.

As they approached the junction of St John Street and Wyclif Street, in Clerkenwell, at around 10am, Adams spotted Mr Tiernan, 54, who beckoned him over through the open passenger window of his blue BMW X5.

In his basis of plea, Adams claimed the victim was pointing the gun at him and, while "fearing for his life and the life of his wife", ran and managed to grab the weapon.

James Scobie QC, defending, said the men wrestled and Adams shot Mr Tiernan in the car.

He said: "Pat Adams and his wife were walking lawfully down the road close to their home.

"Tiernan came to him.

"The fact is he had to act in self-defence - the actual window of opportunity when this incident could have occurred is four seconds.

"A four-second wrestle and the gun went off in the car.

"It was a through and through gunshot - it went straight through him (Mr Tiernan).

"He was lucky, we are not pretending he wasn't."

Mr Scobie said the shooting was "out of character" for his client, adding Adams "regrets" his actions and accepted they were "not reasonable".

He said: "By his guilty plea, Patrick Adams accepts that he used more than reasonable force to defend himself (i.e. excessive self-defence), however, and we underline these words, it was a split-second decision in extreme conditions."

The victim was shot in the chest and was later found by officers lying on his back in the road near his car, where police found a knife, his passport and £900 in cash.

Mr Scobie suggested this was evidence of someone planning to do a "hit" and make a getaway.

Meanwhile, Adams returned home to pick up his car and then drove to the Regent's Canal, where the gun was thrown into the water.

Police have not yet recovered the weapon.

Mr Tiernan is now thought to have made a full recovery after spending a month in hospital because of his injuries, which resulted in part of his intestine being removed, and complications associated with anabolic steroid withdrawal.

He refused to co-operate with police throughout the investigation and, in an interview in May 2015, told The Sun newspaper he did not know who shot him.

Mr Scobie said the pair's relationship deteriorated because there was suggestion that Mr Tiernan was a police informant who would "try and ensnare" the defendant by "encouraging Adams to get back involved in crime".

The men had not spoken to each other for two years and Adams, who had set up a business abroad in 1994 and lived a "law-abiding life" in Majorca, had tried to "stay clear" of the victim.

Reading Mr Tiernan's note to Adams at the last hearing, prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC said: "Pat, I ain't no f****** grass. G (which may be a reference to Mr Adams' son George) could have stopped all this bollocks by telling the truth.

"I've always been there for both of you but no-one is ever there for me.

"We are men. Face me. The truth will hurt."

Mr Scobie said his client fled abroad because he was in "fear of retribution from Tiernan" and also that he did not think he would get a fair trial because "he is an Adams".

Judge Kinch said he had sentenced him on the facts set out in his basis of plea.

He gave him credit for pleading guilty ahead of his trial, reducing the sentence by two years, and said he would serve half the term in jail before being released on licence.

Referring to Adams' previous convictions, the judge said: "Mr Adams, you have some previous convictions relating to firearms even if they are of some antiquity.

"There followed a period of 30 years during which this is the only conviction."

At the age of 19, Adams was jailed in 1976 for seven years after being convicted at the Central Criminal Court of seven robberies and an attempted robbery involving a shotgun.

In 1984, he was also given a three-year sentence for firearms offences, when he was in possession of automatic handguns, before being released from prison in 1986.

The judge also said he had taken into account testimony from three of Adams' friends and a boxing club where he trained young boxers.

He said: "I have heard you are a father, grandfather and devoted husband."

A third charge against Adams of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life will lie on file.

The defendant, who was first convicted at the age of 12, is the younger brother of Terry Adams, the "retired" head of the north London gang.

Mrs Adams, who was also accused of and denied the same charges, was discharged as the CPS offered no evidence against her.