Sunday 18 March 2018

Man sentenced to life in prison for murder of gangland godfather Eamon Kelly (65)

SHOT: Drug barron Eamon Kelly Snr
SHOT: Drug barron Eamon Kelly Snr
Sean Connolly faces life in jail

A 35-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of veteran criminal Eamon Kelly.

Sean Connolly, of Bernard Curtis House in Bluebell, Dublin, pleaded guilty earlier this week at the Special Criminal court

Connolly had been charged at a special sitting of the non-jury court with the murder of convicted cocaine smuggler Kelly (65) at Furry Park Road, Killester, on Dublin's northside, on December 4, 2012.

Father-of-nine Kelly was shot three times in the chest with a handgun as he walked towards his home that afternoon.

Connolly had also been charged with IRA membership and with possession of a firearm on the same occasion.

His trial on all three counts was due to commence on Tuesday morning in the three-judge court.

However, Connolly pleaded guilty to the murder of Mr Kelly on his arraignment and the court was told that the remaining two counts would proceed no further.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Paul Greene SC, told the court that there were three counts on the indictment and a response to the count of murder was "likely".

Connolly's barrister, Paul Burns SC, confirmed that his client "may be arraigned" on the count of murder.

When asked by the registrar of the Special Criminal Court to stand up, Connolly made no reaction.

The registrar asked if he was Sean Connolly, to which he replied: "Yeah".

When asked how he would plead to the first count - that on December 4, 2012 in Killester in Dublin, he murdered Eamon Kelly - Connolly said, "Guilty".

Mr Greene told the court that a nolle prosequi - a decision not to proceed - would be entered on the outstanding counts.

A victim impact report was being prepared, Mr Greene said, and a date of Friday May 1 was set for the court to convene again.

The trial, which was expected to last three weeks, was due to be heard before Mr Justice Paul Butler, Judge Alison Lindsay and Judge Flann Brennan.

There was a large garda presence in court with senior officers, detectives and uniformed gardaí in attendance.

Kelly was suspected of acting as a mentor to a number of gangland bosses.

He was a close associate of former INLA leader Dessie O'Hare. Kelly was convicted in May 1993 of possession of €600,000 worth of cocaine for supply in September 1992 and was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.

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