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Gun murder Spotter for 'murder gang' who gunned down veteran criminal Eamon Kelly gets life

In November of last year, Darren Murphy (51) was found guilty of the murder of Kelly

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Murdered: Eamon Kelly

Murdered: Eamon Kelly

Murdered: Eamon Kelly

The "spotter" for a "murder gang" who gunned down veteran criminal Eamon Kelly as he walked to his home on Dublin's Northside almost nine years ago has been sentenced to life in prison by the Special Criminal Court.

Father-of-nine Kelly was shot four times in the back by a gunman as he walked towards his home and was one of the country’s most well-known criminal figures, having been involved in organised crime for more than four decades.

In November of last year, presiding judge Mr Justice Alexander Owens said the court found that Darren Murphy (51) was guilty of the murder of Kelly at Furry Park Road, Killester, Dublin 5, on December 4, 2012.

On Monday, Mr Justice Owens sentenced Murphy to the mandatory life sentence, backdating it for time already served in custody to November 1, 2021.

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Darren Murphy. Photo: Collins Courts

Darren Murphy. Photo: Collins Courts

Darren Murphy. Photo: Collins Courts

 

In her victim impact statement, Eamon Kelly's daughter Alison told the court that her father's murder was a "cowardly and senseless act" that inflicted a "devastating loss" on the Kelly family.

She said her father was a "true and loyal friend" to those who knew him and was "idolised" by his family. Ms Kelly said that his passing had left an "immense void".

The three-judge court convicted Murphy, of George's Place, Dublin 1, of his role as a "spotter" in murdering Kelly, to which he had pleaded not guilty.

Murphy was found not guilty of possessing a Glock pistol with intent to endanger life on the same date and location due to "insufficient evidence".

At that sitting the court said there was also "insufficient evidence" to establish that his co-accused Kenneth Donohoe was the driver of the getaway car - a Lexus - that he was in possession of a Glock handgun or that he had some direct role as part of the murder gang. 

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Kenneth Donohoe. Photo: Collins Courts

Kenneth Donohoe. Photo: Collins Courts

Kenneth Donohoe. Photo: Collins Courts

 

Mr Donohoe (43), of Hazelgrove, Tallaght, Dublin 24 had also pleaded not guilty to all charges relating to the murder of 65-year-old Kelly.

When passing judgement and referring to Murphy, the judge said the evidence established "beyond any room for any rational doubt" that he was one of the murder gang who went out to kill Kelly.

The non-jury court found that the evidence admitted no other credible explanation for Murphy's activities on that day consistent with innocence or with some involvement short of intention to participate in a murder.

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Murphy had acted as "spotter" and was involved in the murder as part of the common design of the murder gang, said Mr Justice Owens. "This involved him meeting with other members of the gang on the day of the murder.

He acted in concert with them as the net closed in on Kelly and in coordination with them in the immediate aftermath of the shooting," he added.

In judgement, Mr Justice Owens, sitting with Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin and Judge Dermot Dempsey found Kelly was intercepted by the gunman near an alleyway which leads onto Furry Park Road from Dunluce Road.

The court heard that this is used as a short-cut for pedestrians walking from Howth Road and Kelly had taken this shortcut.

"He was accustomed to walking from his home at Furry Park Road into Killester and he often visited a bookmaker's on Dunseverick Road. A murder gang took advantage of this habit," said the judge.

CCTV footage, he said, established that members of the gang were "scouting" in Killester in the afternoons of the days prior to the murder and on the day of the murder.

In 2015, Sean Connolly, then aged 35, of Bernard Curtis House, Bluebell, Dublin, was jailed for life by the Special Criminal Court for Kelly's murder.

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