'lured' | 

Partner of man who assisted in Wayne Whelan murder avoids jail for giving false alibi

Lacey O'Connor told gardai investigating the fatal shooting that her partner, Anthony Casserly, was with her at the time of the murder
Wayne Whelan

Wayne Whelan

Declan Brennan and Peter Murtagh

The partner of a man who assisted in the murder of his friend has been given an 18 month suspended prison sentence for providing her partner with a false alibi.

Lacey O'Connor (30) told gardai investigating the fatal shooting of Wayne Whelan (42) on November 18th 2019 that her partner, Anthony Casserly, was with her at the time of the murder.

Casserly was convicted last January of assisting in the execution of Whelan inviting him out to watch an Ireland soccer match, “luring” him to his death.

Whelan was in the front of a car at Mount Andrew Rise in Lucan, Co Dublin when a gunman who had been sitting in the backseat shot him at least three times in the back of the head. The car was set on fire and Whelan’s remains were later found in the passenger seat. He was so badly burned that he had to be identified using DNA analysis.

Sentencing Casserly (25) of Rowlagh park, Clondalkin last January to a seven-year prison term, Mr Justice David Keane said Casserly used his friendship to lower Whelan’s guard, which would have been up because of a previous attempt to murder him.

He said Casserly had directly “lured” Whelan to his death by inviting him out to watch an Ireland soccer match.

Last October, Christopher Moran (52), who had been on trial at the time for murder at the Central Criminal Court, pleaded guilty to being the getaway driver after the shooting. Casserly then pleaded guilty to participating in or contributing to the murder of Whelan.

Today Casserly's former partner Lacey O'Connor appeared for sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on an offence of perverting the course of justice.

O'Connor also of Rowlagh Park, Clondalkin had pleaded guilty to giving a false account of the movement of a suspect during the murder investigation in November 2019.

Detective Garda Marcus Roantree told the court that O'Connor and Casserly were living together at the time and had been in six-year relationship and had a child together.

As part of routine inquiries canvassing the local areas detectives spoke to her and she told them Casserly had been in their home that night and they had watched the soccer match together.

Subsequent analysis of CCTV footage showed Casserly leaving their home at 7.16pm in a white VW Golf and returning to the house at 8.04pm in a white Audi. Whelan was shot dead at 7.45pm, the court heard.

Detectives then analysed O'Connor's mobile phone records and found three calls were made to a “burner” phone during the time he was away from the house, Dt Gda Roantree said. These calls were made during the time she had told gardai they were together in the house.

The detective accepted a submission from Colm Hennessy BL, defending, that Casserly might have been a person of influence over his client and that he provided financial support to her.

Mr Hennessy told the court that his client's mother was previously a chronic drug addict who is now in recovery. He asked the court to consider that with Casserly in custody his client in the sole carer for their young daughter.

Judge Orla Crowe said it was a very serious matter to interfere with a murder inquiry. She noted that the defendant had provided false information in a two-page document and had also sat through seven garda interviews.

Gardai were investigating the most serious crime, said Judge Crowe, and because of what she said was their excellent work, O'Connor's lie was exposed when they checked the records of her phone. All credit was due to the gardaí and none to O'Connor, she said.

"Effectively, she was caught out in the lie because of technology," said the judge.

Data call records showed she made 27 calls to her partner and that a so-called burner phone was in touch with her three times during the relevant period relating to Whelan's murder. "She made two and received one at a time when she said her partner was at home," said the judge.

The detective accepted a submission from Colm Hennessy BL, defending, that Casserly might have been a person of influence over his client and that he provided financial support to her.

Mr Hennessy told the court that his client's mother was previously a chronic drug addict who is now in recovery. He asked the court to consider that with Casserly in custody his client in the sole carer for their young daughter.

Sentencing O'Connor, Judge Orla Crowe noted that she was the mother and sole carer of a very young child, who would start school this autumn. She had been with Casserly, the father of the child, for six years, had observed all her bail conditions and, while she had left school aged 17, had since earned childhood education certificates.

She said the headline sentence was two years imprisonment which she would reduce to 18 months in light of O'Connor's guilty plea. She noted also O'Connor's co-operation with gardaí subsequent to her giving them a false statement, and the fact that she had not come to garda attention either before or since the incident.

She suspended the sentence in its entirety for four years, and bound O'Connor to keep the peace for that period.


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