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spotter Man guilty of criminal Eamon Kelly’s murder was targeted by anti-terror cops for decades

Darren Murphy to receive life sentence for part in 2012 killing


Darren Murphy has been convicted of the murder of Eamon Kelly. Photo: Collins Courts

Darren Murphy has been convicted of the murder of Eamon Kelly. Photo: Collins Courts

Darren Murphy has been convicted of the murder of Eamon Kelly. Photo: Collins Courts

A Dublin man who was part of the “murder gang” involved in the fatal shooting of veteran criminal Eamon Kelly has been a target of anti-terror gardaí for decades.

Darren Murphy (51) was yesterday convicted of the murder of the 65-year-old in Killester, Dublin, on December 4, 2012.

The Special Criminal Court found that he was a spotter for the hit team and acted in concert with the gang by carrying out surveillance on Kelly in the days leading up to the killing.

A second accused, Kenneth Donohoe (42) of Hazelgrove in Tallaght, was found not guilty of murder and possession of a firearm.

The Irish Independent can reveal Murphy has been a long-standing target for detectives investigating the IRA and was previously arrested in a major raid on the dissident republican group.

He was one of eight men detained on Easter Sunday in 2013 by the Special Detective Unit, which was investigating an extortion campaign on a Dublin businessman.

Also arrested in that operation was Kevin Braney (46), the leader of the so-called New IRA who is now serving a life sentence for the murder of Peter Butterly in 2013.

Garda intelligence linked both men as significant members of the dissident group and they were previously arrested for IRA membership. However, the charges over the 2013 raid were later dropped.

Yesterday, the three judges found Murphy was as guilty of the murder of Eamon Kelly as his accomplice and gunman Sean Connolly, of Bernard Curtis House in Bluebell, who is serving a life sentence for the fatal shooting.

Murphy was found not guilty of a second charge of possession of a firearm, a glock pistol, with intent to endanger life, on the same date and at the same location. The three judges said there was insufficient evidence to establish Murphy had the gun.


Eamon Kelly was murdered in 2012

Eamon Kelly was murdered in 2012

Eamon Kelly was murdered in 2012

The defendant was remanded in custody and will be sentenced to the mandatory life term on January 17.

After the judgment was delivered, defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC, for Mr Donohoe, asked for his client to be discharged from the indictment, which the court granted.

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Opening the case in June, prosecuting counsel Dominic McGinn SC said it was the State’s case that both men were connected to the shooting through “nine broad categories of circumstantial evidence” including CCTV, fingerprints, links to vehicles, DNA and firearm residue.

He said the gunman had been associated with a dark saloon car, which was seen driving in the area. “He (the gunman) got into that for the getaway and some of the witnesses have identified that car,” he continued.

The lawyer said that Male A – whom he suggested was Mr Donohoe – was allegedly identified as the driver of the black Lexus, who had brought Connolly to the scene and driven the car away afterwards. Male C, he said, was Murphy and was connected to the green Opel Meriva car, which was in the vicinity prior to the shooting as a “spotter” car.

Another category of circumstantial evidence, Mr McGinn said, related to fingerprints, and several of these were found in the Meriva, he said. “One is identified as belonging to Mr Donohoe and six are belonging to Mr Murphy,” he highlighted.

Father-of-nine Kelly was shot four times in the back as he walked home. He was one of the country’s best known criminal figures, having been involved in organised crime for more than four decades.

He had survived a previous attempt on his life in 2010, and gardaí believe he was targeted by the IRA after refusing to pay protection money.

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