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Family stunned as killer gets release days

Crime WorldBy Nicola Tallant
Brian Kenny
Brian Kenny

A RUTHLESS gangland killer who threatened to murder the witness who testified against him has been allowed out of prison FOUR times without any warning to his victim’s family.

Lifer Brian Kenny has enjoyed day release to see his family, despite killing a young man in cold blood and terrorising his ex-partner.

The psycho thug has served less than 10 years behind bars after the evidence of protected witness Joey ‘the Lips’ O’Callaghan helped put him away.

But over the past two years he has been escorted on days out to meet his family and even for his son’s Communion, the Sunday World has learned.

Last night the family of his victim Jonathan O’Reilly, who was assassinated outside Clover Hill prison as he sat in a BMW car, said they were horrified to learn that the sadistic drug dealer was enjoying freedom while they were serving a life sentence.

They were never informed that Kenny, convicted along with co-accused Thomas Hinchon, was being allowed out of prison and were only told by the prison service after they were contacted by the Sunday World.

It is not known if prison authorities or gardai informed protected witness Joseph O’Callaghan – whose evidence helped jail the evil duo and who Kenny threatened to murder – of the thug’s release days either.

Dolores O’Reilly said she was sickened that Kenny was allowed day trips to see his family when her own grandson will never see his father again.

“I can’t understand why either of them should get out on temporary release, even with a prison officer. The prison service told us Kenny had got out to see his son for his communion yet our grandson had to go to a grave on his confirmation and communion,” she said.

“What’s the point of a mandatory life sentence if they can get out at any time, it’s a joke.

“Brian Kenny can sit at a table with his own son and his family while Jonathan and his own son can’t. It makes me sick. The door should be locked and the key lost with that pair.”

Kenny and Hinchon got life sentences in July 2005 after ‘Joey the Lips’ was forced into the Witness Protection Programme and gave evidence at their trial. Both were also found guilty of threatening to kill O’Callaghan, who was 18-years-old when he entered the programme.

They had shot 25-year-old Jonathan, from Clondalkin, outside Cloverhill Prison over a row with the small-time drug dealer.

O’Callaghan, who was living with Kenny and his partner at the time, told the court that he was told not to open his mouth to anyone about the killing or he would be murdered too.

He told the court that the pair had arrived back to milkman Brian’s Finglas home and Kenny told him he had shot O’Reilly. He also told the court that Kenny asked him to bury the gun and burn the clothes that he and Hinchon had worn.

O’Callaghan said: “I didn’t know what to do. I was afraid. He [Kenny] said he’d kill me if I opened my mouth.”

O’Callaghan first met Kenny when he started to collect milk money for him on his round in Blanchardstown. He used to babysit for him and his partner Rita Harling, who would later write a book about her time suffered at the hands of Kenny.

Last night Dolores O’Reilly said that O’Callaghan bravely put his life in danger to get justice for her son: “They also ruined Joseph O’Callaghan’s life. That young man is still looking over his shoulder because he stood up to those bullies and got justice for our son. We admire him for his courage.”

And she said that she has now been informed that Kenny is up for parole in October.

“We will object very strongly to his release and so will Jonathan’s teenage son. We’ve been told he is ‘being good’ in prison, but that’s an easy game to play.

 “They never showed any remorse for that they did, in fact they still insist they didn’t do it.

“I have never hidden the fact that both of my sons were involved in drugs, that’s the road they took.

“However, Jonathan did not deserve to die. Our other son James is serving a sentence for drugs offences and he couldn’t get temporary release for his son’s confirmation or communion or a family visit.

“There were eight deaths in our family in the year James went into prison, he didn’t get out to say goodbye to anyone.

“Yet Brian Kenny, a murderer, can get out. It’s all wrong.”