Man gets two life sentences for double murder
A MAN has been given two life sentences after he was found guilty of murdering two men who were shot dead two years ago.
Gary Howard (24), of Emerald Street in Dublin's inner city, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Patrick Mooney (58) and Brendan Molyneux (46) on January 10, 2010.
The victims, who were family friends, were found shot dead in Mr Mooney's flat at Pearse House, Hanover Street, Dublin.
The jury of six women and five men returned a unanimous verdict of guilty on both counts following the six-week trial.
Mr Justice Carney handed down two life sentences and backdated them to January 10, 2010, from when Howard went into custody.
As Howard was led away, he shouted to the victims' families: "Could have been worse, could have been in the ground being ate by maggots."
Prosecuting counsel Brendan Grehan told the Central Criminal Court the families did not want to give a victim impact statement.
Mr Grehan said the families remain devastated but they did not want to address the court as they believed the facts of the case could speak for themselves.
The court heard Howard had 40 previous convictions, mostly for road traffic offences but also for arson and threatening and abusive behaviour.
Detective Inspector Michael Cryan told the court that Howard was a father of two and, to his knowledge, had never worked.
The trial heard that Howard initially denied having carried out the killings but then admitted to them before denying it again. In a garda interview, Howard said he was with his one-year-old child at the time he was threatened to carry out the killings. "They stuck a gun in me mouth and pointed it at me child," he told gardai. "They knew how close I was to them, my life ended along with Brendan and Paddy's.
"I was told to murder them. I didn't want to do this. I couldn't tell anyone why I had to do it," he told gardai in a later interview.
The trial also heard Howard told gardai that Brendan Molyneux was an IRA head and that he knew the Provos were after him.
In an interview on January 15, 2010, he denied carrying out the killings having said earlier that he had committed them because he was under duress.
In his direction to the jury Mr Justice Carney told them that duress did not amount to a defence under our law in relation to murder.