NewsCrime Desk

Innocent gangland victim had three kids and a baby on the way

Crime DeskBy Patrick O'Connell
Ellen Power with baby Martin Lawrence
Ellen Power with baby Martin Lawrence

THE FAMILY of innocent gun victim Martin O’Rourke have branded his murder “a sin against God” as they reveal his fiancé is three months pregnant with their fourth child.

Fiancée Angelina Power’s sister, Ellen, describes the full heartbreak of 24-year-old Martin’s callous murder on Sheriff Street last Thursday, which left three children and an unborn baby without their doting dad.

Angelina Power and Martin O'Rourke 

“What kind of person climbs up on a bike and chases after an innocent man to shoot him dead, leaving three young children and a baby without a father?” Ellen asks.

In the family’s first interview since the horrific killing, Ellen held Martin’s eight-month-old son Martin Lawrence on her lap as he pitifully called out for his murdered “dada”.

“He’s been calling for his dada ever since this happened – but his dada is never coming home,” a heartbroken Ellen sobbed.

“Martin was a good father and he was so happy because Angelina is three months pregnant.

“This is a sin against God, to leave three innocent children without a father.

“We had to sit his four-year-old daughter Angela down this morning and tell her: ‘Angela we have something to tell you – your daddy has gone to Heaven.’

 “We told her Daniel William [her little cousin who died before Christmas] needed someone to mind him.

“And what did Angela say? She wanted to know why Daniel William took her daddy?

“She wanted to know why he did that because she said she needed him as well.

“She said: ‘Mommy, can I go and buy daddy a yellow flower – they were his favourite.’

“To hear that from your four-year-old niece.

“She hasn’t spoken since and we had to bring her down with her mam to the spot where her daddy was gunned down. The child was crying her eyes out.

“Can you imagine your children asking your partner: ‘Mommy where’s my daddy? Why haven’t I got a daddy like my friends have?’

“Well, God forgive the fella who killed our Martin. I hope to God when he closes his eyes he sees Martin’s face – because he didn’t deserve it.

“We want the whole country to know the truth about Martin.”

At the time of his callous murder, Martin – who was himself an orphan – was staying with partner Angelina in Focus Ireland’s George’s Hill Apartments on Halston Street in Dublin’s north inner city.

Like hundreds of other families, the couple had endured the hardship of not having a home to call their own, while Angelina’s family cared for their three young children, Angela (Mouse) (4), Michael Patrick (2) and Martin Lawrence (8 months).

Michael Patrick

“Martin was not a junkie. He was clean, off drugs for more than a year,” Ellen continued.

“That morning he kissed my sister goodbye and told her he was going down to get his social welfare payments sorted because they had been stopped.

“He never left her side in seven years and he wouldn’t have that morning, but he was going down to get his social welfare started.

“He let her sleep on because she was getting sick the night before because of the pregnancy.

“We don’t know why he walked down through Sheriff Street, except maybe that he was taking a shortcut to the social welfare office.

“Angelina waited for him to come back and when he wasn’t back by 12pm she went looking for him.

“He was lying dead on a street and where was she? She was out looking for him across the city, going to all the Garda stations trying to find him.

“She passed him, she passed the tent the gardaí set up over the spot where he was shot. But it never entered her head it could be Martin.

“She didn’t find out he’d been killed until she got back to the apartment later that night.

“They had so much to look forward to. They were going to view a two-bedroom apartment next week.

“They were getting their lives back on track.

Martin with daughter Angela

“Martin wasn’t a junkie. He’d had his problems with drugs in the past, but he was clean for the last year – and he wasn’t ever a violent criminal.

“Martin’s mum and dad had passed away, so he had a difficult upbringing because there was no-one there to give him guidance.

“In the last couple of years he started to get that guidance and he had broken away from that past.

“And he was finally enjoying life, because he could finally see life for what it was, what it should be.

“He had nothing to do with gangland or any feuds.

“He was a complete innocent, murdered because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Ellen said that Martin had been involved in drug-related petty crime, but had left that life behind him.

“He’d got in trouble with burglaries and thefts – but he didn’t do it to have a mansion. He did it to support a drug habit and he was never violent to anyone.

“He was staying out of trouble. Both him and Angelina were done with drugs. They wanted to get out of the city and to get away from drugs.

“Angelina is three months pregnant – they hadn’t told anyone because they were waiting until she was four months.

“And they were planning little Martin Lawrence’s Christening. He was also organising a passport, because in August we were going to go on holiday to Tenerife – but he’ll never get to see any of that now.

“Now, Martin won’t get to see any of that.”

She said he had gone back to school and was hoping to sit some exams in the future.

“He was back in school doing his reading and writing, because he wanted to make something of himself for his children.

“They were both back on the straight and narrow.

“We want justice for Martin – and not just for Martin – we want justice for Martin, Angelina and those children.

“He was an innocent bystander.

“Martin deserves justice and we need the people who saw what happened to come forward.”

The family also expressed their gratitude to the people of Sheriff Street, thanking them for their support in the wake of the killing.

“We’re very grateful to the people of Sheriff Street and the respect we got from that community down there,” Ellen continued.

“After Martin was shot they wrapped him in a jacket and they phoned for help for him and they tried their best to keep him alive.

“We want to thank them for that, we’re very grateful to them for that.”