Saturday 16 December 2017

Man who murdered dad in front of baby son jailed for life

Sharon Rattigan, girlfriend of the murder victim Seamus O’Byrne, at the Central Criminal Court.
Sharon Rattigan, girlfriend of the murder victim Seamus O’Byrne, at the Central Criminal Court.
Eugene Cullen

Niamh O'Donoghue and Ruaidhri Giblin

A 30-year-old man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering a father of two five years ago.

Eugene Cullen, of Derry Road, Crumlin, Dublin, had denied murdering Seamus (Shay) O'Byrne (27) at Tymon North Park, Tallaght, on March 13, 2009.

The Central Criminal Court heard that Mr O'Byrne was shot dead by a hooded gunman in front of his girlfriend Sharon Rattigan and his baby outside their home.

Ms Rattigan was also shot in the leg as she tried to seize the gun from the assassin.

Cullen is the second person to be convicted for the murder after Garrett O'Brien was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2012.


In a victim-impact statement, Ms Rattigan said they had lost a constant light in their lives and their baby son would never know his father.

Mr Justice Barry White handed down the mandatory life sentence and backdated it to May 8, 2012, for time spent in custody.

The court was told that Ms Rattigan tackled the gunman, disarmed him and in doing so was shot with a bullet that ended up in the dead man.

State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy told the court that Mr O'Byrne sustained five gunshot wounds.

The court heard Cullen was on bail at the time of the shooting.

He was later arrested in Amsterdam in May 2012 and has been in custody ever since.

Last year, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for a robbery in Galway that took place a number of years before the Tallaght shooting.

In a victim impact report read out to the court by the victim's older sister, Charis O'Byrne, the deceased was described as a popular son and loving father to his son and daughter.

She said he and his partner Ms Rattigan had been together in an extremely close relationship for over 10 years.

She had lost a mainstay in her life and was left with a gaping hole since the loss of her partner, the court heard. They lost what was a constant light in their lives.

His son was only 23 months old at the time he lost his father, she said, and he would likely have no memory of him when he grows up.

Irish Independent

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