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jail bird Judge sends Robbie Lawlor's ex-girlfriend away for three months

Mother-of-two is sent down for driving without insurance

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Rachel Kirwan broke down in court when she was sentenced

Rachel Kirwan broke down in court when she was sentenced

Rachel Kirwan broke down in court when she was sentenced

The ex-girlfriend of slain mobster Robbie Lawlor has been jailed for three months for driving without insurance.

Rachel Kirwan (34) had claimed she lost her documents after death threats forced her to move home.

The mum-of-two was a witness at Lawlor's 2019 trial for the attempted murder of Fiona Mitchell, in which he was acquitted.

This week, Athy District Court heard how Kirwan had "two life threats on account of her having given evidence in the Central Criminal Court."

She was forced to change her phone and address on account of these threats, Kirwan had lost all the details of her previous insurer, her barrister Aisling Murphy said.

"She packed up, moved house changed phone, and insurance was the last thing on her mind," said Ms Murphy.

However, prosecuting Garda Sergeant Brian Jacob said Kirwan had plenty of time since 2019 and the case could have been dealt with by email if she had provided details of her insurance.

Kirwan had pleaded not guilty to the charges of having no insurance, and failure to produce details of it, after being stopped in an Audi A6 on the M7 near Kildare Village on Valentine's Day in 2019.

The arresting garda gave evidence of having stopped her for travelling at 148kph in a 120kph zone, for which the fine has since been paid.

A demand was also made to produce a certificate when the garda saw the insurance was out of date but "no insurance has been seen".

Judge Desmond Zaidan was told Kirwan had 15 previous convictions, all for road traffic offences, of which two were for no insurance in 2013 and 2010.

In mitigation, Ms Murphy told the court that her client was an unemployed mother of two who can't even collect her own social welfare.

"The court can only imagine the trauma Ms Kirwan has gone through because of giving evidence, and I'd ask you be as lenient as possible," she pleaded.

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Robbie Lawlor was gunned down at a house on Etna Drive in north Belfast last year

Robbie Lawlor was gunned down at a house on Etna Drive in north Belfast last year

Robbie Lawlor was gunned down at a house on Etna Drive in north Belfast last year

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The judge disqualified Kirwan from driving for six years and sentenced her to three months in prison.

Ms Kirwan broke down in the dock as she was sentenced.

It's not the first time Rachel Kirwan has been reduced to tears in a courtroom, having been cross-examined in the Central Criminal Court during Lawlor's attempted murder trial.

During that case, Kirwan said that an initial statement she made to gardai about Lawlor making threats to kill her new boyfriend Derek Mitchell and his mother Fiona had been made up.

She told the trial that she was lying when she told gardai her former partner Lawlor had threatened to kill her boyfriend's mother and "leave him grieving for two weeks and then put him out of his misery".

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Derek Mitchell.

Derek Mitchell.

Derek Mitchell.

Kirwan said she wanted to "paint him in the worst light possible" after being told by her boyfriend's mother, Fiona Mitchell, that there was no doubt that Lawlor was the gunman who fired two shots at her home.

A garda gave evidence of taking the statement and details of Kirwan's relationship with Lawlor.

She said she had started seeing him 12 years previously and had two children with him, but at the time of the gun attack at the Mitchell home in May 2018 she was seeing Derek Mitchell.

When Lawlor found out she was in a relationship with Mitchell, Kirwan said there was an argument and Lawlor started making threats.

Kirwan described how he threatened to kill Derek Mitchell's mother.

However, she later went back to gardai to say she had lied said she felt "riddled with guilt and had to do and say whatever I could to get him off the streets".

During her time on the witness stand Kirwan repeatedly broke down as she was questioned about photographs of Derek Mitchell.

At one point she replied to senior counsel: "I'm not answering that question.

"My life is worth more than four pictures on Instagram. I'm not answering anything more about who's in them pictures."

Lawlor was acquitted of all charges in that trial, including shooting the Mitchells' German Shepherd dog Chopper.

Lawlor, who had been caught up in lethal underworld feuding, was himself shot dead by a gunman in Belfast in April last year.

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