Tuesday 20 March 2018

Cousins jailed for life for murders with no clear motive

Breda Waters.
Olivia Mullens holding a picture of her partner and their children outside court today.

Nicola Donnelly

TWO men found guilty of murdering a mother-of-three and a father-of-three have been given mandatory life sentences.

The jury in the Central Criminal Court trial of Patrick O'Brien and Thomas Stewart returned their unanimous verdict of guilty on all four counts this afternoon after an hour and four minutes deliberating.

They were convicted of killing Desmond Kelly and Breda Waters in a house in O'Malley Park in Limerick on January 9, 2011.

Mr Justice George 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.

No motive was given for the double murder during the trial.

Both men showed no emotion as the verdict was read out while the family of the two victims sobbed loudly and said 'Thank you.'

Stewart then turned to family members and said "Keep your heads up, we are innocent men," before both men were led away by prison officers.

First cousins O'Brien (33) of Glanntan, Golflinks Road, Castletroy, Limerick and Stewart (29) of The Cedar, Briarfield, Castletroy, Limerick had both pleaded not guilty to the murders.

Father-of-three Mr Kelly (23) and mother-of-three Ms Waters (28) were shot dead in "cold-blooded murder" in a house in O'Malley Park in Limerick at around 9am by O'Brien and Stewart.

Speaking after the sentencing, Mr Kelly's younger brother Jonathan (21)

said: "I am relieved they are after getting two life sentences each.

"My family is after getting justice. That's all we wanted was justice.

Today was a good day in a life time of bad days and I am so delighted that those animals are going to rot in prison.

"I don't know the motive but justice has been served," he continued.

"Two innocent people are after having their lives taken away from them and the two animals that done it are in prison. I am ecstatic for my family, the Waters family, for Dessie and Breda.

"Dessie was the most bubbliest person you would ever come across in your life, pure happy, outgoing, charismatic, very witty and a heart of gold and family orientated," he said.

In a Victim Impact Report, the Kelly family said "words cannot describe the loss and devastation" they have experienced. "Dessie will never get the chance to see his three children make their Communion, Confirmation or walk up the aisle."

The Waters' family said Breda, who is the second member of the family to have been murdered, was "the heart and soul of the family."

"We are heartbroken and crushed at what Patrick O'Brien and Thomas Stewart did to you. We got justice for you today and hope you are at rest now."

Ann Mullens, the mother of Dessie's partner Olivia, held a photo frame of Dessie, Olivia and their three children and their six-year-old child says "Dessie is an angel during the day, even though he is out of sight due to the men who took him away."

Ms Waters' older sister Annie said "We got justice today for Breda. She was the mother of three children and the happy soul of our family.

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."

It was the prosecution's case, which relied on circumstantial evidence, witness statements and extensive CCTV footage, that the two men made their way to O'Malley Park after they asked Stewart's brother Patrick and cousin Ian O'Leary for a lift to the Southill area in Limerick.

Both Patrick and Ian refused to drive them to the area and left them at the Roxboro roundabout. Patrick Stewart had told gardai he saw what looked "like an iron bar or gun" in the sleeve of Patrick O'Brien's coat as the two accused sat in the back seat of Mr O'Leary's car.

O'Brien and Stewart were seen on CCTV cameras outside an unlicenced premises at around 8.30am and further footage showed the two men making their way through O'Malley Park towards Mr Kelly's house.

O'Brien, who has 32 previous convictions and Stewart, who has 30 previous convictions, entered Mr Kelly's house as the lock on the front door had been broken prior to the double shootings.

Mr 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.

The men then made their way upstairs, dropping a single used cartridge on the stairs, to a front bedroom where Ms Waters was and shot her in the neck from the doorway.

Both Mr Kelly and Ms Waters died instantly, according to State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy.

Mr Kelly's sister Theresa was in a back bedroom minding his five-month old baby and both were unharmed. It was Theresa who alerted gardai and emergency services to the shootings.

Evidence was given during the three-week trial that Mr Kelly had been drinking in his home the night before the shootings, along with Ms Waters, her sister Martina and a friend Mattie Quinn.

Mr Quinn and Martina left the house at around 2.30am and stayed in Mr Quinn's uncle's house.

Mr Kelly's sister Theresa was babysitting his baby daughter in the house. Further evidence was given by Andrew Donlon who said Stewart and O'Brien called to his house around 8am to collect a 'yolk' which he referred to as a gun which Stewart had asked him to mind several months previous.

No motive was given for the double murder during the trial.

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