Cousins killed pair over an affair and a drugs debt
AN extra-marital affair and an outstanding drugs debt led to the murder of a woman and man who were shot dead by two cousins.
Patrick O'Brien (33) of Glanntan, Golf Links Road, Castletroy, Limerick, and Thomas Stewart (29) with an address at The Cedars, Briarfield, Castletroy, began two life sentences after a jury at the Central Criminal Court convicted them of a double murder committed last year.
Father-of-three Des Kelly (23) and mother-of-three Breda Waters (28) were shot dead at Mr Kelly's home at O'Malley Park, Southill, Limerick, on January 9, 2011, by the cousins.
Martina Waters (20) -- a sister of Breda -- gave evidence before Mr Justice George Birmingham that she had an affair with O'Brien, but it ended three or four weeks before the double murder after his wife, Susan, found out.
She admitted she had sent O'Brien's wife "nasty text messages" after Susan was diagnosed with cancer but denied she said she hoped O'Brien's wife would die from cancer and that she would have O'Brien for herself.
On the night of the double shooting, Martina Waters went to Mr Kelly's house with her sister Breda to meet a man called Mattie Quinn.
During the night, Mr Kelly left the house for 20 minutes and returned with a bag of heroin. Martina Waters left the house with Mattie Quinn at 2.30am to go to his uncle's home.
It was the prosecution's case that the cousins entered the house at 8.48am while Mr Kelly's sister, Theresa, was asleep upstairs with his five-month-old child.
Des Kelly, who was in the kitchen at the time, was shot in the right side of his head at close range with a 12 gauge single barrel sawn-off shotgun.
Gardai believe Mr Kelly owed O'Brien a drugs debt of a couple of hundred euros.
The men then made their way upstairs, dropping a single used cartridge on the stairs, to a front bedroom where Breda Waters was.
Theresa Kelly said she heard two people coming upstairs and heard one of the gunmen, O'Brien, asking Breda Waters where was her sister Martina.
"I heard Breda say, 'I swear to God she is up in Mattie's uncle's house,' and heard something that sounded like a stick banging off a door," Theresa Kelly said.
Breda was shot in the neck from the doorway and O'Brien and Stewart left the house without discovering that Theresa Kelly or the baby boy were in another bedroom.
The jury returned their unanimous verdict of guilty on all four counts on Friday afternoon after deliberating for just over an hour.
Mr Justice Birmingham told the jury they had come to a "perfectly proper verdict" before sentencing the two men to two life sentences, each to run concurrently.
Both men showed no emotion as the verdict was read out while the family of the two victims sobbed loudly and said: "Thank you."
O'Brien is originally from Delmege Park, Moyross, and has 32 previous convictions including offences for drugs, attempt to rob and assault causing harm.
Stewart has 30 previous convictions including burglary in Clare.
Speaking after the sentencing, Ms Waters' older sister Annie said her family had got justice for Breda.
"She was the mother of three children and the happy soul of our family," Annie Waters said.
"She loved her karaokes. I hope the two rot in hell. They showed no remorse. They did everything they could possibly have done to destroy our lives," she added.