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Mum of two jailed for assisting offender following city centre killing

CourtsBy Sunday World
Police at the scene on Killarney Court, Killarney Street, Dublin 1.
Police at the scene on Killarney Court, Killarney Street, Dublin 1.

A 25-year-old mother of two has been jailed for one year for assisting an offender following a killing near Portland Row in the city.

Dubliner Laura Dempsey of no fixed address, but originally from Ballyfermot, was charged with impeding the apprehension or prosecution of the person she believed was guilty of murdering 33-year-old Kieran Farrelly on October 26, 2014.

She was arraigned before the Central Criminal Court last month and pleaded guilty to the offence, which included assisting in the concealment of a shotgun used in the killing at Killarney Court, Killarney Street, Dublin 1.

Today Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy said that when "the fatal shooting" occurred Ms Dempsey was given the firearm by one of the accused to put in her handbag and she then placed it in a wheelie bin.

"She admitted being present at the shooting in her statement," said Ms Justice Kennedy.

The judge said that all of Ms Dempsey's previous convictions appeared to relate to "a chaotic drug related lifestyle."

"I'm told Ms Dempsey is 25 years of age with two young children and has a long term and deep-seated heroin addiction," she said.

The court heard that Ms Justice Kennedy had read the two victim impact statements and recognised that the victim was a young man who was deeply missed by his family.

"While the functions of sentencing are to punish the offender, to protect society and offer rehabilitation, this is undoubtedly a very serious matter.  I take into consideration the aggravating factors, the serious nature of the offence and the disposal of the firearm following the fatal shooting," said the judge.

Ms Justice Kennedy said she also accounted for Ms Dempsey's early plea of guilty and the fact she tried to discourage the attack itself.

She said that the penalty for assisting an offender ranged from a suspended sentence and up to ten years.

"The appropriate penalty is one of five years in prison and with the mitigating factors I reduce this to three years in prison and suspend the final two years for a period of three years," she said.

The court heard that the accused must comply with a probation officer and attend the Merchant's Quay Project or some other suitable project.

The sentence will commence from today's date and Ms Dempsey will be given credit for time already served in jail.

Dempsey had also been charged with the offence of murder itself, but had that charge dismissed, after making an application under Section 4E of the Criminal Justice Act 1999.

At the sentence hearing last week Detective Garda Gary Moran testified that she had 59 previous convictions, including those for drugs possession and possession of a knife.

Some 20 of these convictions were subsequent to the shooting.

He said that she had a heroin addiction and that her previous convictions were attributable to this, with a large number for theft.

Det Gda Moran said that members of Mr Farrelly’s family were in court and two victim impact statements had been prepared. However, these were not read.

He agreed with Remy Farrell SC, defending, that the gardai had an understanding of what had happened to Mr Farrelly because his client had given them a full account.

He handed in a psychiatric report, which detailed ongoing flashbacks she had of the shooting. He said that this might put into context the convictions dating from after the event.

By Alison O'Riordan