Tuesday 25 April 2017

Third man jailed for life over role in gang murder

Seamus O’Byrne and Sharon Rattigan
Seamus O’Byrne and Sharon Rattigan

Eoin Reynolds

A Dublin man yesterday became the third person jailed for life for the same gangland murder.

After a nine-week trial at the Central Criminal Court, Gary Flynn was convicted of murdering Seamus 'Shay' O'Byrne at the victim's home in Tallaght on March 13, 2009.

It took the jury just one hour and 40 minutes to convict him.

As the verdict was delivered, his girlfriend, mother and family members cried and hugged him before he was taken away by prison officers.

Mr O'Byrne's family and his girlfriend Sharon Rattigan, who was also shot in the gun attack, left the court quietly to finish writing a victim impact statement.

His sister Charis later told the court: "Seamus is missed every day by all of us in so many ways. My mam misses everything that a fun, caring first-born son brought to her life.

"Shay had a great relationship with my dad and the loss of his eldest son and best friend has been truly devastating. A cloud of sadness follows him and he misses him more every day."

Charis spoke of how Seamus had been a "rock" for their brother Rob when he was left in a wheelchair after a diving accident in 2005 and helped him "physically, mentally, emotionally". "He was his rock, his best friend and joker. Nothing was too much for his younger brother."

Speaking of her own loss, she said his death had left a "gaping hole" in her life and an empty chair at every family celebration. She added that Sharon's loss is almost impossible to comprehend.

"How Sharon gets through this, we do not know," she said.

"To witness the event herself and be shot is traumatic enough. To have lost the mainstay of her life must be incredibly difficult to even try to come to terms with."

The jury was told Flynn (31), of Rossfield Drive in Tallaght, was not the gunman who shot Mr O'Byrne four times but has been part of the gang.

Another man, Garrett O'Brien of Cloverhill in Bray, was convicted for the shooting in November 2012. Eugene Cullen was also convicted in March 2014 for his role in organising the murder. He has since died.

Ms Rattigan told the court how a gunman appeared outside their home and opened fire, shooting Mr O'Byrne four times before Sharon tackled him.

O'Brien fired again, hitting Sharon in the leg, but she fought on and both of them toppled over a garden wall.

As he fled, Ms Rattigan took his gun, his mobile phone and a can of Red Bull that had spilled from his pocket.

The phone was later used to finger O'Brien as the shooter and to link other members of the gang to the murder plot.

The jury heard Flynn was seen on CCTV travelling in a car with Cullen less than two hours before the murder and were captured on camera again in Coolock 30 minutes after the murder.

Irish Independent

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