Saturday 24 February 2018

Life sentence for man who murdered ex-girlfriend's partner

James Connors: jailed for life for the murder of Jason Ryan. Photo: Courtpix
James Connors: jailed for life for the murder of Jason Ryan. Photo: Courtpix

Eoin Reynolds

A man who murdered his ex-girlfriend's partner when he should have been in jail serving a sentence for assault has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

James Connors (29) had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Jason Ryan (27) at Hollyville Heights in Wexford on January 25, 2012.

The victim's mother, Catherine Ryan, wrote a victim impact statement that was read to the court by counsel for the prosecution Lisa Dempsey.

"How do you describe what it's like to have your healthy, glowing son die because of the whim of another person?" she said.

Ms Ryan said she was trapped in her own "groundhog day" and her family can never be as they were before Jason was killed.

She said she was angry that Jason's life was cut short by the "decision of another man" and her family's life had been turned upside down and inside out.

Ms Ryan also offered some words to James Connors's mother. "I empathise with Mrs Connors ...But she will have her son and his future in her life. All I have from now to the end of my life are my memories and a plot of ground with a cold headstone."

Before sentencing, Detective Garda Colm Dunne of Wexford Garda Station gave evidence that Connors had numerous previous convictions.

The most serious was a conviction in March 2009 when he was sentenced to five years in prison for assault causing harm.

He was given Christmas leave for that offence in December 2011 but failed to return when his leave ended.

When he murdered Jason Ryan in January 2012, Connors was unlawfully absent from prison.

After 11 hours and 21 minutes of deliberations, the jury of seven men and five women at the Central Criminal Court found him guilty of murder by a 10 to two majority.

Sentencing Connors, Justice Margaret Heneghan said she was imposing the mandatory sentence of life.

She backdated it by two years and three months to take into account time already served in prison.

Irish Independent

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